Physical Techniques in Treating Migraine

Migraine is an acute and pulsating headache that when severe can hinder day to day routine of the patient. It is an excruciatingly painful experience which if untreated can go on from 4-72 hours, making the sufferer inactive for daily life. Migraine is also the third most prevalent disease. It is often accompanied by photophobia and visual disturbances. It is not uncommon for someone with migraine to complain about seeing flashing light or blind spots. It also causes nausea and vomiting. Since this disability is not only extremely painful but also very common, it is vital to come up with a cure for it that is not only quickly effective but also has long term affect. A case study was carried on my Robyn Prescott, BA, BINM and Alana Shaw, BSc, ND, to find the benefits of physical treatment for migraine in a female patient.

About the Patient

The patient was a 29 years old female who had been suffering from sharp headache and other symptoms consistent with migraine headache for the last two years. She reported the pain in her left orbital region and visual disturbances in the left eye. The pain was so severe – nine out of ten, ten being the highest – that it would make her put a pause at her daily life while the pain subsided. She suffered from such attacks almost twice a week. She also reported that the attacks seemed to be triggered by stress involving her family. After several physical examination the patient was diagnosed with migraine without aura.


The treatment provided to the patient was a combination of two techniques – cervical adjustment of C3-C4 called Index Pillar Push Adjustment Technique and Trigger Point Release. The treatment was carried on for five weeks. For the first three weeks the patient received the treatment once a week then after third week there was a gap for two weeks and the fourth and final treatment was given on the fifth week. During these weeks the patient experienced a substantial reduction in the migraine headache. In the first week of treatment, she still suffered from two migraine attacks of severity 9. However, on the second week she suffered no attack. During third and fourth week she suffered from only one incident of headache, of lesser severity of 6 and on the last week she had only one attack of severity 6-7. Since the treatment had led to benefits and a better wellbeing of the patient she was informed that further treatment should be continued if she wanted or needed it.


While cervical adjustment techniques and trigger point release are popular among naturopathic physicians, the combination of both are not used by them in treating migraine headaches. Many reports suggest that these are very effective in migraine pain and are used by chiropractors or physiotherapists to help patients achieve fast and lasting cure. However, the authors of the study point out that migraine pain can be caused by various reasons and this one case study alone might not be able to vouch for all kinds of migraine pains. This study, however, proves the effectiveness of cervical adjustment and trigger point release in relieving migraine pain and reducing their frequency. Further studies need to be conducted to come to a more substantial result for various kinds of migraines.

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