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Headaches &

Persistent headache and migraine is debilitating, painful and frustrating for any patient who has experienced this pain for an ongoing period of time. Recent research pioneered by Australian Physiotherapist Dr Dean Watson, has identified a fault in the upper joints of the neck as being a major contributing factor in overstimulating the brainstem and leading to migraine.

The Watson Headache® Approach involves applying a series of assessment techniques which, when applied in a systematic way accurately identifies the upper cervical spine segment/s responsible for the symptoms of headache or migraine. These same techniques are also used to rule out the neck as being involved in your headache, should they yield negative results.

Physiotherapy management of headache & migraine typically involves:

  • Targeted, sustained joint mobilisation (NOT manipulation) to the affected cervical spine segment/s. Your headache and associated symptoms will be temporarily reproduced. This pressure is gently sustained and the headache pain should slowly subside within 20-30 seconds

  • Assessment and release techniques to any other cervical or thoracic spine segments (or ribs), that may be contributing to your headache and migraine

  • A home exercise program designed to provide ongoing mobility and stretch to these affected spinal levels – such as sustained “chin tucks”

  • An initial treatment block of 2-3 sessions within the first 2 weeks is advisable, to alter the underlying stiffness and dysfunction. The ultimate aim of treatment is for self-management, with physiotherapy sessions used intermittently and “as-needed” for stubborn cases

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