Chiropractic and Migraines: What the Research Shows

written by Dr Scott Bentson   |   category: Headache, Migraine

Many research studies support the use of chiropractic for the management of migraine headaches. Let’s take a look at the conclusions from few of these research articles.

In an Evidence Report published by Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Research Center for Clinical Health Policy Research, the effects of drug-free options for headache are discussed. The authors concluded the following: “Cervical spine manipulation was associated with improvement in headache outcomes in two trials involving patients with neck pain and or/neck dysfunction and headache. Manipulation appeared to result in immediate improvement in headache severity when used to treat episodes of cervicogenic headache when compared with an attention-placebo control. Furthermore, when compared to soft tissue therapies, a course of manipulation treatments resulted in sustained improvement in headache frequency and severity.”

McCrory DC, Penzien DB, Hasselblad V, Gray RN. Evidence Report: Behavioral and Physical Treatment for Tension-Type and Cervicogenic Headache. Duke University Evidence-Cased Practice Research Center for Clinical Health Policy Research.

“There was no advantage to combining amitriptyline and spinal manipulation for the treatment of migraine headache. Spinal manipulation seemed to be as effective as a well-established and efficacious treatment (amitriptyline), and on the basis of a benign side effects profile, it should be considered a treatment option for patients with frequent migraine headaches.”

The efficacy of spinal manipulation, amitriptyline and the combination of both therapies for the prophylaxis of migraine headache. Nelson CF, Bronfort G, Evans R, Boline P, Goldsmith C, Anderson AV.
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1998 Oct;21(8):511-9.

“Evidence suggests that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improves migraine and cervicogenic headaches.

Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache.

Bryans R, Descarreaux M, Duranleau M, Marcoux H, Potter B, Ruegg R, Shaw L, Watkin R, White E.
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Jun;34(5):274-89.

“Migraine occurs in about 15% of the general population. Migraine is usually managed by medication, but some patients do not tolerate migraine medication due to side effects or prefer to avoid medication for other reasons. Non-pharmacological management is an alternative treatment option. We systematically reviewed randomized clinical trials (RCTs) on manual therapies for migraine. The RCTs suggest that massage therapy, physiotherapy, relaxation and chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy might be equally effective as propranolol and topiramate in the prophylactic management of migraine.”

Manual therapies for migraine: a systematic review. Chaibi A, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. J Headache Pain. 2011 Apr;12(2):127-33

“The results of this study support previous results showing that some people report significant improvement in migraines after chiropractic adjustments. A high percentage (>80%) of participants reported stress as a major factor for their migraines. It appears probable that chiropractic care has an effect on the physical conditions related to stress and that in these people the effects of the migraine are reduced.”

A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. Tuchin PJ, Pollard H, Bonello R. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 Feb;23(2):91-5

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Dr Scott Bentson

His background in biomedical engineering/physics and specialized training as a Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) gives Dr. Scott Bentson a unique perspective and area of expertise when it comes to biomechanics and pain management.
His passion for helping people to feel their best combined with this specialized expertise has made him a chiropractor who is in high demand. Dr. Bentson lives and practices in Bethlehem, PA and enjoys sharing this practice with his wife and the creator of YouAnew Lifestyle Nutrition, Dr. Kristen Bentson.


Lehigh Valley Chiropractic Affiliations