Objective: To test the efficacy of Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) in the treatment of migraine, using an uncontrolled clinical trial.
Design: A clinical trial of six months duration. The trial consisted of 3 stages: two months of pre-treatment, two months of treatment, and two months post treatment. Comparison was made to initial baseline episodes of migraine preceding commencement of SMT.
Setting: Chiropractic Research Centre of Macquarie University.
Participants: Thirty two volunteers, between the ages of 23 to 60 were recruited through media advertising. The diagnosis of migraine based on a detailed questionnaire, regarding self reported symptoms or signs, with minimum of one migraine with aura per month.
Interventions: Two months of SMT provided by an experienced chiropractor at a university clinic.
Main Outcome Measures: Participants completed diaries during the entire trial noting the frequency, intensity, duration, disability, associated symptoms and use of medication for each migraine episode. In addition, clinic records were compared to their diary entries of migraine episodes.
Results: A total of fifty nine participants responded to the advertising, with twenty five being excluded or deciding not to continue in the trial. Two participants (5.9%) withdrew during the trial, one due to alteration in work situation and one following soreness after SMT. The Chiropractic SMT group showed statistically significant improvement (p < 0.05) in migraine frequency and duration, when compared to initial baseline levels. Only one participant (3.1%) reported that the migraine episodes were worse after the two months of SMT, and this was not sustained at the two month post treatment follow up period.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that Chiropractic SMT is an effective treatment for migraine with aura. However, due to the cyclical nature of migraine with aura, and the finding that episodes usually reduce following any intervention, further research is required. A prospective randomised controlled trial utilising detuned EPT (interferential), a sham manipulation group and an SMT group is nearing conclusion. It is anticipated this trial will provide further information of the efficacy of Chiropractic SMT in the treatment of migraine with aura.