The Impact of Soft Tissue Techniques in the Management of Migraine Headache: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Chiropr Med. 2019 Dec;18(4):243-252. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2019.12.001. Epub 2020 Aug 1.


Objective: Individuals with migraine often present with postural faults and muscle tension that are associated with myofascial trigger points (MTrPs). These trigger points may be a contributory factor to the development of migraine headaches. There are many treatments aimed at eliminating MTrPs, such as soft tissue techniques, laser therapy, and needling therapies. Thus, we performed a randomized controlled trial study to investigate the efficacy of soft tissue techniques in the management of migraine headache.

Methods: This study was conducted among individuals with migraine headache in Shiraz in 2018. Forty participants were randomly divided into 2 groups: the soft tissue techniques (treatment) group and the placebo control group. Participants in the treatment group were treated over 6 sessions in 2 weeks (combined MTrP therapy and stretching). Headache parameters, drug consumption, score on the Headache Disability Index, and pressure pain threshold (PPT) were measured before and after the intervention and after a 1-month follow-up period. Data were analyzed with 2 × 3 repeated-measures analyses of variance to investigate the differences in variables between the 2 groups.

Results: Compared with baseline and the control group, the treatment group showed a significant reduction in headache parameters (P < .001), drug consumption (P < .001), and Headache Disability Index score (P < .001) immediately after the intervention and after a 1-month follow-up period (all Ps < .001). PPT levels increased in the treatment group in comparison with the control group (P < .001).

Conclusion: The soft tissue techniques were helpful for improving certain aspects of migraine, such as headache parameters, drug consumption, functional disability, and PPT levels of cervical muscles.

Keywords: Migraine Disorders; Musculoskeletal Manipulations; Trigger Points.