Finger pressure can relieve many migraine headaches

Over three minute pressure to occipital arteries can greatly relieve migraine pain in over 1/2 of cases; almost sounds too good to be true.

Yousef Hmaidan, Carlo Cianchetti
Effectiveness of a prolonged compression of scalp arteries on migraine attacks
J Neurol (2006) 253 : 811–812

The protocol was as Follows:

1) Compression was enough to interrupt blood flow

2) Usually it took both front and back head pressure to get results

3) The temporal artery was compressed using firm digital pressure against the zygomatic arch in front
of the tragus and 1–2 cm downstream;  actually maybe just above TMJ joint might work better – just immediately in front to the ear tragus (outcropping in front of ear canal)

That would take several fingers to press on that length.

4) The occipital artery was pressed on near midline posteriorly

The artery is so midline if you grab the uppermost vertebral spine lilke grabbing the nap of your neck, the artery should be near under your fingers on either side. During a headache they should be pounding. Press it/them against your occiput.

5) Most often, arteries in temple and occiput need to be done together; though they say, start with one and start adding others every 1/2 minute as needed. They are held 4 minutes. If no relief, try both temple and occiput blood vessels for over 6 minutes.


Comment – haven’t had a chance to try this. Apparently this was noticed before and works best if done during an aura:

Ann Neurol. 1986 May;19(5):515-6.Lipton SA.
Prevention of classic migraine headache by digital massage of the superficial temporal arteries during visual aura.

A Cold Gel cap has been used prior to help with headaches:

Evidence-based Compl. and Alt. Medicine Volume 3, Number 4 p. 89-493; 2006;Levent E. Inan et al
Cold Therapy in Migraine Patients: Open-label, Non-controlled, Pilot Study

free article here

Their cap above. The response was:

Closest I could come to this was something called a Migra – cap which they claim helps 8/10 migraines:

site here ; They do sell on ebay which might be cheaper…

Much cheaper is something called the headache relief band patented in 2005 here:


and available here:

Of course, face mask gel packs could do the trick as well…

One would think the combo of ice packs and blood vessel pressure would do the trick although I see hemicranias (only half head pains) only work about 1/2 the time by digital pressure.

I would be interested in other local therapies for migraines that people find helpful... I have tried intranasal lidocaine and cold and laser to the area about the upper back molar with some success but that is a whole other article…

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11 Responses to Finger pressure can relieve many migraine headaches

  1. admin says:

    There is also a patent for rusty red contact worn for 30 -120 minutes causing lasting migraine relief
    patent here:,610,081

    I had once read that blue contacts were the ticket but can’t find much about it now. – anyone had any experience with this?

  2. Payday Advance says:

    This write up on Finger pressure can relieve many migraine headaches hands down is fantastic material for your readers to give thanks for. My hats off for such outstanding information!

  3. admin says:

    Had an opportunity to recently try finger pressure for migraine on a patient. Bilateral below jaw level temple pressure with thumbs and near midline base of skull with rest of fingers. After a while it was obvious where the blood vessels were, as they were pounding. After 4 minutes, the below jaw level blood vessels were no longer pounding, and after 6+ minutes the near midline base skull blood vessels stopped pounding. Patient looked much relieved.

  4. admin says:

    I recently saw a patient with headaches that seemed to start in the neck-back junction (Cervicothoracic junction). She applied topical aspercream to area and trapezius tips and migraines never materialized. The base of the neck has gained popularitly as a migraine source. See:

    Aspercreme contains 10% trolamine salicylate and 1% menthol. It was found to help muscle soreness in one study:

    Topical aspirin has always fascinated me since intriguing articles in the early 1990’s finding ASA in diethel ether or chloroform can dramatically reduce post herpetic neuralgia pains. :

    IN Chloroform:
    Archives of Neurology
    Vol. 50 No. 10, October 1993
    Topical aspirin in chloroform and the relief of pain due to herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia
    R. B. King
    Department of Neurosurgery, State University of New York Health Science Center, Syracuse, NY 13210.

    OBJECTIVE–To determine pain patterns and relationships in patients with herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia before and after topical application of aspirin dissolved in chloroform applied to the painful skin surface. DESIGN–A consecutive series of 42 patients examined and treated in a uniform manner and followed up until their pain subsided or this management mode failed. SETTING–An ambulatory referral private practice.

    PATIENTS–All patients had pain due to herpes zoster or postherpetic neuralgia and were referred for management of severe pain. None refused.

    INTERVENTION–Topical application of crushed aspirin tablets dissolved in chloroform.

    OUTCOME MEASURES–Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire. RESULTS–All patients reported substantially decreased pain promptly after treatment, with maximum relief at 20 to 30 minutes and lasting 2 to 4 hours. Patients gradually decreased the use of aspirin in chloroform as pain abated.

    CONCLUSIONS–Topical aspirin dissolved in chloroform is an effective means of reducing pain due to herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia in most patients. The locus of pain origin and analgesia induced by topical aspirin is most likely at cutaneous free-nerve ending pain receptors. The mechanism responsible for the analgesic properties of aspirin is probably not the same as that responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties.

     IN Ether:
    Pain. 1992 Mar;48(3):383-90. Erratum in: Pain 1992 Aug;50(2):245.

    A new topical treatment for acute herpetic neuralgia and post-herpetic neuralgia: the aspirin/diethyl ether mixture. An open-label study plus a double-blind controlled clinical trial.

    De Benedittis G, Besana F, Lorenzetti A. Pain Research and Treatment Unit, University of Milan, Italy.

    Topical aspirin/diethyl ether (ADE) mixture was used to treat 45 consecutive patients with acute herpetic neuralgia (AHN) (n = 28) and with post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) (n = 17) in an open-label study. Good-to-excellent results were achieved by 93% of AHN patients and by 65% of PHN patients. Earlier treatment yielded better results for the AHN but not the PHN group. The topical treatment seemed to accelerate the healing of acute herpetic skin lesions and possibly modulate the severity of the herpetic infection. Furthermore, a striking reduction in the percentage of AHN patients developing PHN was observed in the treated group, as compared with the disease natural history reported in the literature (4 vs. 50-70%). Treatment tolerance was excellent with no adverse effect observed. In addition to the open trial, a pilot double-blind crossover placebo-controlled study (n = 11) compared the analgesic efficacy of ADE with two other NSAID (indomethacin and diclofenac) drug/ether mixtures. Aspirin (but not indomethacin and diclofenac) was significantly superior to placebo as regards pain relief (P less than 0.05).

    What’s the dose?

    one article suggested 750 mg topically

    One article put it in a moisturizer and found benefit:

    Int J Dermatol. 2001 Aug;40(8):535-8.

    A randomized parallel trial of topical aspirin-moisturizer solution vs. oral aspirin for acute herpetic neuralgia.

    Balakrishnan S, Bhushan K, Bhargava VK, Pandhi P. 

    BACKGROUND: In this study, the efficacy of oral aspirin vs. topical aspirin in moisturizer (Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion) was studied in an open, randomized, parallel trial in patients with acute herpetic neuralgia.

    METHODS: Thirty patients were evaluated in the trial, with 15 in each group. The patients were randomized to receive either oral aspirin, 375-750 mg three times a day, or 75 mg topical aspirin/mL of moisturizer (5-10 mL, depending on the extent of involvement), three times a day, for 21 days. Pain was assessed daily by means of a self-rating visual analog scale and physician assessment. In addition, the skin and plasma levels of aspirin were measured in both groups.

    RESULTS: The mean time to onset of pain relief was 44 min with topical aspirin and 110 min with oral aspirin. The mean duration of pain relief after a single application of topical aspirin was 5.4 h, whereas it was 3.5 h with oral aspirin. The mean visual analog scale scores for pain with oral aspirin decreased from 68.2 +/- 6.1 on day zero to 43.1 +/- 8.7 on day 21, which was not significant compared with the baseline score. With topical aspirin, the baseline pain score was 77.5 +/- 3.7 and decreased to 6.8 +/- 3 on day 21 (P < 0.001 compared to the baseline score and compared to oral aspirin). The mean plasma and skin levels of aspirin following oral administration were 16.21 +/- 1.1 microg/mL and 1.97 +/- 0.3 microg/mm2, respectively. After topical administration, the mean plasma level of aspirin was 2.29 +/- 0.5 microg/mL (P < 0.01 vs. oral aspirin) and the skin level was 5.96 +/- 0.4 microg/mm2 (P < 0.05 vs. oral aspirin). Treatment tolerance was excellent in both groups.

    CONCLUSIONS: This trial has demonstrated that topical aspirin in moisturizer is clearly superior to oral aspirin in relieving the pain of acute herpetic neuralgia, and that the analgesic activity of aspirin is largely due to its local effect

    I think the liquids gave much faster results but:

    1) No pharmacy carries ether; might have to crack open a craburator spray jump start to get that….

    2) Chloroform is liver toxic and a general anesthetic – needs good ventitation. Do not put in plastic bottles as it will eat it away in 20 minutes (saw it happen).

    3) Pharmacists used to whine about having to grind film coated tablets but now there is the quick dissolve powders or alka seltzers…

  5. ian shiozaki says:

    Try greater & lesser occipital nerve blocks. sometime c3 and supraorbital are needed. Unlike the traditional method, I find 30g needles using .8cc of marcaine without steroid works 75% of the time.
    A second trick is 16-20 mg decadron im is effective 75% of the time.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Query severe years of sinus trouble…..

    I have several nerve type issues….deafness and what feels like ongoing sinus trouble, blockage though not runny nose ( very dry). Burning sensation and numbness on right side tongue throat and head around the ear and face all on one side and some loss of sensations in my lower body all right sided though this often in the past few months has passed and then returned. Most receently I have “nervy” teeth….almost all of them, dizziness etc, some could be passed of as migraine. Recent MRI on brain/head and spinal plus numerous CT scans since I had sinus surgery 10 years ago keep coming back clear,bloods indicate a small loss of calcium and a componenet of iron but not iron itself…I was told this was something that helps produce iron ( ferritin).
    Ongoing symptoms worsening…pressure around right eye roof of mouth along with more numbness sometimes tingling on my upper lip….no explanation as to hwther all of this can be cause by severe inflammation ( also unexplained) which is felt above my top jaw inside my mouth ( also right side) that is in the area under the maxilliary bone sinus area and causes bad tenderness on those teeth ( as I said nervy teeth on all and both sides uppeer teeth now). Many years ago prior to surgery I had bad frontal sinuses. All CT scans show the right side may have a little thickening of the lining.
    Can bad inflammation like this cause me so many varied numb area even in the lower body, ear etc…as I said every test is clear.
    Started one week ago on rhinocort…not sure if this is helping, have bad post nsala drip and allergies all year round.

  7. Ali Sultaneh says:

    To read all the story about my migraine pressure points, my migraine surgery, my migraine pressure points devices see:

  8. Ali Sultaneh says:

    My migraine pressure points # 1 for frontal- ocular migraine headaches and my points # 3 for basilar/occipital migraine headaches were stolen. My migraine pressure points devices were stolen also. My migraine surgery in my migraine places was stolen also. All this happen to me because since 1998 when I discovered my migraine pressure points tell now I work alone without any help from any one.
    No where in medical books you can find my migraine points # 1 and # 3 before 1998.
    Dr. Hmaidan and Cianchetti asked my permission to use it and I sent my permission by DHL, but they published it without my name.
    To know all the story please read all my blogs:

  9. Ali Sultaneh says:

    You can read the reason why they deleted my web page:
    I saw a post from Dr. Shevel or others who support him and when I posted my response they deleted all my web page and all my blogs: ( they supports the thief):
    Please read the post of Dr. Shevel on my blog and my response:
    The blog and my pages were deleted in
    They do all what they can to hide my work, they even supports the thief’s.
    Stolen migraine surgery
    Please read the post of Dr. Shevel on my blog and my response:
    Dr. Shevel post:
    Migraine Surgery Pioneer Dr Elliot Shevel’s surgery records for arterial ligation for migraine date back to 1995, some five years before Dr Sultaneh began exploring these techniques. Dr Shevel is one of a number of world renowned migraine scientists being falsely accused of scientific theft by Dr Sultaneh. Dr Guyuron is another. Dr Sultaneh performs arterial ligation on a rather narrow and limited set of extra cranial arteries that are sometimes responsible for migraine pain. These are temporal and occipital arteries. However there are many other extra cranial arteries from which the pain may emanate, as well as a complex set of muscles and nerves that are involved in the pain process. Dr Sultaneh is to be applauded for his innovative thinking and encouraged expand his work. But false accusations and claims of 100% cure rates are misleading and scientifically regressive. Dr Shevel’s scientific publications can be viewed at this link

    My response:
    Dr. Shevel and too many others doctors in the history did surgery for migraine; I mentioned that in my first book in 2000.
    And most of them did the artery ligation of the scalp arteries the same arteries that I do.
    But all of them didn’t have any good results from their surgery, and as all of you know.
    What I found and no one found it’s before me.
    I found the places that I called # 1 for Superficial temporal artery, and the point that I called # 3 for occipital migraine headaches.
    You will not find in all medical literature any description about my migraine points before the date of 1998 when I discovered my migraine pressure points.
    Dr. Shevel stole my migraine surgery on my migraine places, as you can see from his video.
    I have a story how I discovered these points:

    My migraine points show me the new migraine way and the simple secret of migraine headaches that was hidden all the past years till I found it.

    You can see his publication and it’s so easy to see the truth.
    Place # 2 was known to all the past doctors including Dr. Shevel.
    In medicine you can steel for a while but with the time all will know who the
    Thief is.
    Thank you

    Admin Comment – I recently had a lady with chronic migraines have a sebaceous cyst in the left temple area. I removed the cyst and she no longer gets pain in that region making me think the superficial temporal artery/nerve entrapment might have been involved…

  10. Ali Sultaneh says:

    First of all: Thank you Dear Admin to give me opportunity to say about my work here.
    You are correct when you thought about the superficial temporal artery because of you removed the branches of STA at the same time by removing the cyst.
    If you my finger pressure points for migraine in the point # 1 or point # 3 you will see how all the migraine headaches will stop in less than one minute. You have to be sure that both branches of STA were closed to get this result.
    This is my group in Facebook:

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