There are many migraine treatments that have been well studied. There are some that have been studied only a little bit, and that may be because the results aren’t all that encouraging.
Massage for migraine is something different – it has been studied, some, with encouraging results. But it hasn’t been studied nearly enough.
Yes, researchers are very positive about massage when it comes to migraine. Health practitioners do recommend it – sometimes. But could it be that this is a very effective treatment that we’re not talking about nearly enough?
Back in 2011, researchers published a review in The Journal of Headache and Pain, reviewing studies about physiotherapy, chiropractic, and massage therapy. The studies on massage therapy were small and not well designed. And yet clearly migraine patients saw improvement through this type of treatment.
Massage therapy is also frequently recommended for pregnant women with migraine, who are wanting to avoid most drug therapies.
One of the challenges with studying massage therapy is that there are so many different types. Of course there are actually head massages, such as champissage. But it could be that a shoulder, neck and back massage is even more effective. In fact, foot massages seem to be very helpful for migraineurs, even if it’s self massage using a good quality foot massager.
So with so many types of massage, and so many types of migraine and other headache conditions – where do you start?
In spite of the challenges, we should not be afraid to study massage, as both a migraine preventative and a treatment during some types of attacks. We will probably be pleasantly surprised to find that this safe, non-drug treatment is very helpful. It could be helping many more people, and there are already a lot of migraine patients who would tell you to try it.
The study mentioned above: Manual therapies for migraine: a systematic review