Craniosacral Therapy in Migraine: A Feasibility Study

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00665236
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : April 23, 2008
Last Update Posted : December 4, 2012
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Douglas Mann, MD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

April 21, 2008
April 23, 2008
December 4, 2012
September 2006
May 2009   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
HIT-6 [ Time Frame: Post-treatment (end of 8 weeks) ]
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00665236 on Archive Site
Headache frequency [ Time Frame: Daily ]
Same as current
Not Provided
Not Provided
Craniosacral Therapy in Migraine: A Feasibility Study
Craniosacral Therapy in Migraine: A Feasibility Study
Treatment of migraine continues to be a major health problem today, despite many new pharmacological therapies. Limited clinical experience suggests that craniosacral therapy (CST) may be effective in the treatment of headache, including migraine. The primary aim of this proposal is to gather quality preliminary data on the usefulness of CST as an adjunct to conventional care for patients with migraine and to determine the feasibility of a larger, randomized clinical trial of CST in patients with migraine. Craniosacral therapists use a technique of gentle palpation of the head, neck and spine to release restrictions in cranial and peri-spinal tissues that are believed to contribute to a variety of health problems including headache. It is estimated that more than 2 million visits to CST practitioners are made each year, with more than 10 per cent of those for the complaint of headache. There has been no rigorous research examining the usefulness of CST for patients with migraine despite the impression of beneficial effects. Our limited preliminary data show significant, sustained benefit of CST in a small group of patients with migraine. The First Specific Aim is to determine the feasibility of developing a clinical trial comparing craniosacral therapy versus low-strength static magnets (attention-control complementary therapy) as a treatment for preventing migraine headaches. Patients with migraine, with or without aura, under care of a neurologist will be studied. After an 8-week baseline period, they will be randomized to one of two groups: 1) usual medical care plus 8 weeks of CST; or 2) usual medical care plus 8 weeks of attention-control complementary treatment. Primary outcome measures will include: 1) headache-related quality of life, 2) headache frequency, and 3) perceived benefit in those receiving treatment. The Second Specific Aim is to identify relevant secondary outcomes associated with usual care plus adjunctive craniosacral therapy for migraine. Data collection will include demographics, headache intensity and duration, health status, headache-related disability, health care utilization, and medication use. The Third Specific Aim is to identify and find solutions for potential problems in conducting a larger clinical trial to assess the efficacy of CST for the prevention of migraine. Patients will be recruited from the University of North Carolina Headache Clinic and from local neurological practices. Duration of the study for each subject is 16 weeks. Length of the entire project is 2 years.
Not Provided
Not Applicable
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Migraine Headaches
  • Other: Craniosacral therapy
    Eight weekly 45-minute sessions with therapist
  • Procedure: Low strength static magnets
    Placement of magnets on/around subject body by therapist; frequency: weekly for 45-minutes x 8 weeks
  • Experimental: 1
    Craniosacral therapy administered once a week for an hour by a trained craniosacral therapist.
    Intervention: Other: Craniosacral therapy
  • Active Comparator: 2
    Low-strength static magnets placed around the body for periods of up to an hour once a week.
    Intervention: Procedure: Low strength static magnets
Mann JD, Faurot KR, Wilkinson L, Curtis P, Coeytaux RR, Suchindran C, Gaylord SA. Craniosacral therapy for migraine: protocol development for an exploratory controlled clinical trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2008 Jun 9;8:28. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-8-28.

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Same as current
September 2010
May 2009   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Eligible subjects will be 12 years of age and above, either gender, meeting the 2004 International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) criteria for migraine with or without aura, with a frequency of 5 to 14 per month and a headache history of more than two years. Patients must be under the care of one of the physicians participating in the study. Patients with chronic daily headache (more than 15 headache days per month) will be included only if they also have between 5 and 14 migraine headaches per month that can be clearly differentiated from chronic daily headache. Subjects or their caregivers must be willing and able to document headache characteristics and use of medications, as well as complete the assessment instruments. They must be able to come in for 8 weekly CST or LSSM interventions.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Exclusion Criteria. Patients with significant, symptomatic depression, anxiety or psychosis requiring more than two psychotropic medications daily and/or more than two visits a month to a mental health care provider; those undergoing current treatment for a major medical illness such as malignancy, autoimmune or immune deficiency disorder; pregnancy; those with clotting disorders; those with a history of head trauma or cranial or neck surgery within two years; a prior history of use of CST or magnet therapy for headache; cardiac pacemakers; other implanted or external electrical devices.
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
12 Years to 80 Years   (Child, Adult, Older Adult)
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
R21AT002750-01A2( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
R21AT002750-01A2 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Not Provided
Not Provided
Douglas Mann, MD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Principal Investigator: John Douglas Mann, MD University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
November 2012

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP