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The efficacy of lymphatic drainage and traditional massage in the prophylaxis of migraine: a randomized, controlled parallel group study

An Erratum to this article was published on 13 July 2016


This study aimed at examining the efficacy of lymphatic drainage (LD) and traditional massage (TM) in the prophylactic treatment of migraine using controlled prospective randomized clinical trial of 64 patients (57 women, 45 ± 10 years) with migraine with and without aura. Patients were randomized into three groups: LD (n = 21); TM (n = 21); waiting group (WG, n = 22). After a 4-week-baseline, a treatment period of 8 weeks was applied followed by a 4-week observation period. The patients filled in a headache diary continuously; every 4 weeks they filled in the German version of the CES-D and the German version of the Headache Disability Inventory. The main outcome measure was migraine frequency per month. At the end of the observation period, the number of migraine attacks and days decreased in the LD group by 1.8 and 3.1, respectively, in the TM group by 1.3 and 2.4, and in the WG by 0.4 and 0.2, respectively. The differences between LD and WG were significant (p = 0.006 and p = 0.015, respectively) as well as the differences between TM und WG (p = 0.042 and p = 0.016, respectively). There was a significant decrease in the amount of analgesic intake in the LD group compared to the two other groups (p = 0.004). TM and LD resulted in a reduction of migraine attack frequency. The analgesic intake only decreased significantly during LD intervention. Useful effects were identified for LD and TM as compared to WG for the prophylaxis of migraine. LD was more efficacious in some parameters than TM.

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Center for epidemiologic studies depression scale


Clinical global impression


Headache disability inventory


International headache society


Lymphatic drainage


Traditional massage


Waiting group


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Correspondence to Stefan Evers.

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There was no funding of the study.

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An erratum to this article can be found at

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Happe, S., Peikert, A., Siegert, R. et al. The efficacy of lymphatic drainage and traditional massage in the prophylaxis of migraine: a randomized, controlled parallel group study. Neurol Sci 37, 1627–1632 (2016).

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