Dr Dean Watson PhD

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist

Advancing Understanding of Cervicogenic Headache and the Role of Cervical (C1-3) Afferents In Primary Headache For Individuals Living With and Health Professionals Managing Headache and Migraine

Envisioning Change

Dean envisions a genuine partnership with medical practitioners, where a thorough manual examination of the upper neck becomes standard procedure when assessing headache and migraine conditions, regardless of the initial diagnosis.  This collaboration can only improve outcomes for those living with recurring headache, migraine and related conditions. 

As the creator of the Watson Headache® Approach, Dean has introduced an evidence-informed, non-manipulative clinical manual approach for the upper cervical region. This approach is celebrated for its exceptional diagnostic precision and straightforward and innovative approach to clinical reasoning.

Dean's Bio

Dr. Dean Watson PhD, a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist who embarked on his professional journey in 1976 with a Diploma in Physiotherapy, has furthered his education with a Graduate Diploma in Advanced Manipulative Therapy (Honours) 1983 and a Master Applied Science (Manipulative Therapy) by Research 1991 from the University of South Australia, culminating in a PhD (Research and Publication) 2017 from Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia. Dean’s doctoral research focused on the impact of cervical afferents (upper neck disorders) on migraine, marking the first instance of demonstrating that a manual cervical protocol, known as the Watson Headache® Approach, could mitigate the foundational disorder in migraine.

In 1990, Dean founded The Headache Clinic, Australia’s pioneering clinic dedicated to manual therapy for headaches. Since its inception, he has devoted his practice exclusively to the assessment and management of headache and migraine conditions, amassing over 40,000 hours of clinical experience with more than 13,000 patients. This extensive experience led to the development of the Watson Headache® Approach and the founding of the Watson Headache® Institute in 2002. Dean has shared his insights and the details of the Approach with peers worldwide since 1994, teaching over 5,000 practitioners across 25 countries.

Dean’s contributions to the field of headache and migraine assessment, management and education have been recognised through his publications in ‘Cephalalgia’ and ‘Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain’, which are esteemed as premier, peer-reviewed medical journals in the headache domain. He continues to be actively engaged in clinical practice, research, education, and authorship. Dean also holds the position of invited Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of South Australia.

For You If Are You Living With Headache, Migraine or Related Conditions?
For You If You Are a Health Professional Managing Headache, Migraine, or Related Conditions?
Watson Headache
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