Dr Dean Watson PhD (APA Titled Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist)
Advancing the Role of Cervical Afferents In Primary Headache
For Individuals Experiencing and Health Professionals Managing Headache and Migraine
Dr Dean Watson PhD, Founder of the Watson Headache® Approach,
consults at the Watson Headache® Clinic and also presents educational programs,
nationally and internationally, for the Watson Headache® Institute.
... is that a skilled examination of the upper neck is genuinely accepted as a legitimate, routine practice when investigating headache and migraine conditions. Dean is the Founder of the Watson Headache® Approach which is now recognised internationally for its unparalleled diagnostic accuracy and uncomplicated innovative clinical reasoning.
Dr Dean Watson PhD, Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, graduated in 1976 with Dip Tech Physio, subsequently with Grad Dip Adv Manip Ther (Hons), Master Manip Ther (University of South Australia), culminating with a PhD in 2017 from Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.
Dean’s PhD investigated the role of cervical afferents in migraine, which for the first time demonstrated a manual cervical intervention (the Watson Headache® Approach) ameliorating the underlying disorder in migraine.
Since 1990, Dean has treated headache and migraine conditions exclusively, accumulating over 33000 hours of clinical experience with over 8500 patients. From this experience the Watson Headache® Approach has evolved. Dean has taught and presented internationally on numerous occasions since 1997, the Approach having been taught to over 4000 practitioners in 25 countries.
Dean has published in Cephalalgia and Headache, the premier, peer reviewed headache publications. He remains an active clinician, researcher, educationalist, and author. Dean is currently an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of South Australia.
- Director The Headache Clinic Pty Ltd (established in 1991) T/A Watson Headache Clinic – Adelaide
- Director Watson Headache Institute Pty Ltd (established 2002) T/A Watson Headache Institute – International
- Adjunct Lecturer, Masters Program, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
- Presenter Watson Headache® Institute Foundation, Consolidation and Certification Headache Courses. Also Webinars, Update, Refresher, Mastermind and Re-Certification Days
- Scientific Program for the Watson Headache® Institute Symposia 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021.
- Diploma of Technology in Physiotherapy 1976 (SAIT)
- Graduate Diploma in Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy 1983 (University of South Australia)
- Master Applied Science (Manipulative Therapy Research) 1991 (University of South Australia)
- PhD (Research and Publication) Murdoch University Western Australia 2017
Degree of Doctor Of Philosophy 2016 (Thesis)
Cervical Afferents in Primary Headache: An investigation of the potential role of cervical nociceptors in sensitising the trigemino-cervical nucleus in primary headache. Murdoch University Research Repository.
Master of Applied Science in Manipulative Physiotherapy 1990 (Thesis)
Cervical Headache: An investigation of natural head posture and upper cervical flexor muscle performance
Watson DH, Drummond PD. Head Pain Referral During Examination of the Neck in Migraine and Tension-Type Headache. Headache 2012; 52:1226-1235
Watson DH, Drummond PD. Cervical Referral of Head Pain in Migraineurs: Effects on the Nociceptive Blink Reflex. Headache 2014; 54:1035-1045
Watson DH, Drummond PD. The Role of the Trigemino Cervical Complex in Chronic Whiplash Associated Headache: A Cross Sectional Study. Headache 2016; 56: 961-975
Watson DH, Trott PH. Cervical Headache: An Investigation of Natural Head Posture and Upper Cervical Flexor Muscle Performance. Cephalalgia 1993; 13: 272-284
Watson DH, Cervicogenic Migraine? Case Study Manual Therapy 1995;1:51-52
Luedtke K, Boissonnault W, Caspersen N, Castien R, Chaibi A, Falla D, Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C, Hall T, Hirsvang JR, Horre T, Hurley D, Jull G, Krøll LS, Madsen BK, Mallwitz J, Miller C, Schäfer B, Schöttker-Königer T, Starke W, von Piekartz H, Watson D, Westerhuis P, May A, International consensus on the most useful physical examination tests used by physiotherapists for patients with headache: A Delphi Study. Manual Therapy, 2016 June, Volume 23, Pages 17–24
Janani AS, Pope KJ, Fenton N, Grummett TS, Bakhshayesh H, Lewis TW, Watson DH, Whitham EM, Willoughby JO. Resting cranial and upper cervical muscle activity is increased in patients with migraine. Clin Neurophysiol. 2018 Sep;129(9):1913-1919.
Watson DH. Cervicogenic Headache: Diagnostic Criteria in Practice. Bessler, Johannes et al (Editors) Manual Therapy Expert Knowledge the best focus article of 2012 -2016. 2018 Georg Thieme Verlag KG Deutschland: pgs 2010 -2015
Watson DH, Trott PH. Cervical Headache: An Investigation of Natural Head Posture and Upper Cervical Flexor Muscle Performance. Grieve’s Modern Manual Therapy. Boyling JD and Palastanga N (eds) Churchill Livingstone. Edinburgh
Watson DH, The Continuum of Headache. Moving in on Pain. Shacklock MO (ed) 1995 Butterworth-Heinemann Sydney p 53-63
Physio First Summer 2004: In Touch 'The Medical Model of Headache... and along comes Cervicogenic Headache'
Physio First, Summer 2018 - Quality Private Physiotherapy: In Touch 'Alternating Headache: C2-3 Guilty or Not?'
Luedtke, K et al (including Watson DH). International consensus on the most useful physical examination tests used by physiotherapists for patients with headache: A Delphi study. Manual Therapy 2016 23:17-24
A pre-test, post-test intervention study (with embedded waiting list control) to assess the feasibility (efficacy; acceptability; and methodology) of mobilization of C0-C3 cervical segments to reduce headache in migaineurs. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation 10.17863.
- A clinical trial assessing the effectiveness of the Watson Headache® Approach for migraine sufferers. *Please Note: Whilst permission was given by the Watson Headache® Institute to undertake this research, the Approach was not strictly adhered to.
The Watson Headache® Institute & University of South Australia are undertaking collaborative research led by Dr Dean Watson PhD (Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist) & Dr Julie Walters PhD (School of Health Sciences). This research involves both qualitative and quantitative research: Part 1 & 2 - Language of Migraine: What Should Migraine Be Called?; Migraine: The Lived Experience (An Anonymous Survey); The Art of Migraine A Single-arm, Pre Post Test Pilot Study; The Effect of Physiotherapy Assessment of the Neck on Pupil Dilation in Adults with Migraine with Aura, Cluster Headache and Post Traumatic Headache; and Case Study Series involving an international collaboration of physiotherapists committed to actively contribute to the research needed to help individuals living with headache associated conditions. Each in their clinical practice, sees a large number of people living with headache. We list only after review and approval by the University of South Australia Research Human Ethics Committee. Enquiries are received in the strictest confidence. Please click for more information.
Highest quality publication by a PhD Student - Dr Mary Lee Sparling Prize in Psychology Research 2013
- Germany, Nuremberg CRAFTA 2009
- United Kingdom, London, Physiotherapy and Orthopaedic Group 2009
- Spain, Madrid, Physiotherapy Group 2010
- Australia, Adelaide, South Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) 2011
- Australia, Perth, Western Australian Branch Physiotherapy Association (APA) 2012
- Australia, Sydney, New South Wales Branch Physiotherapy Association (APA) 2012
- World Wide Webinars Launch 2013 (See recordings Headache and Neck https://www.worldhealthwebinars.com.au
- Spain, Barcelona, Physiotherapy Group 2015
- Australia, Sydney, WHI Inaugural Headache Symposium 2016
- Australia, Perth, Western Australia Manual Concepts 2009 - 2017
- Italy, Milan, Lombardia Chapter of the Italian Association of Physiotherapy 2017
- Australia, Sydney, WHI Headache Symposium 2017
- Australia, Melbourne, Back In Motion Health Group 2017
- United Kingdom, Nottingham Physio First Conference 2018
- Italy, Milan, WHI Inaugural International Headache Symposium 2018
- Australia, Adelaide, University of South Australia Graduate Physiotherapy Conference 2018
- Australia, Sydney, Neurologic Education Integrative Therapies for Headache and Migraine 2019
- Australia, Sydney, The Physio Business Growth Podcast Episode Eight 2020
- India, Chennai (by telecast), Indian Association of Physiotherapists, 58th Annual Conference 2020
- Australia, Sydney (by telecast), Australian Academy of Craniofacial Pain 9th International Symposia 2020
- Italy, Varese, ManualMente - Formazione in Movimento, Live Con 2020
- 2nd WHI International Headache Symposium Online 2020
- McKenzie Institute Australia, Virtual Education Weekend 2021
- Germany, Hochschule Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences 2021
- Qatar, 1st International Conference, Virtual Platform 2022
- 'Cervicogenic Headache: Clandestine Headache'
- 'Headache in Sport: Exercise-Induced Headache'
- 'Diagnosing headache is like a dog’s breakfast ... it’s all over the place! and therefore... is a diagnosis clinically relevant?'
- ‘Migraine’ and C1-3 afferents… an inconvenient marriage'
- 'The Role of Cervical Afferents in Brainstem Sensitisation'
- 'Post Concussion Syndrome and the Sensitised Brainstem'
- 'Cervical and Lumbar Discs Compared'
- A Manual Therapy Approach to Post Concussion Syndrome
- 'Finding Common Ground with the GP'
- 'Conceptualising Cervicogenic Headache: Useful or Not? The Case for 'Cervico-Saurus' Headache
- 'Alternating Headache: C2-3 Disc… Guilty or an Innocent Bystander?'
- 'Headache Patients Love to Talk - Get the Most out of Your Subjective Examination'
- 'Cervicogenic Headache: Secondary or... Primary Headache? Or... both?'
- ‘Cervicogenic Headache: useful… or an ‘intellectual straitjacket?'
- 'Subjective Examination Of The Headache Patient'
- 'Watson Headache® Approach: A Manual Therapy Approach, Not Just for ‘Cervicogenic Headache’, but also Primary Headache'
- 'Headache, Research and Life'
- 'Myofascial TMD, a “sensitive” point?'
- 'Cervicogenic Headache (CGH): Rare as Hen’s Teeth?
- 'Headache and Migraine, A Different Conversation'
- 'Ongoing Symptoms Post Cervical Arterial Dissection with Fibro Muscular Dysplasia: Is Manual Therapy Contraindicated? A Case Study'
- 'Manual Therapy For Arnold Chiari: ‘To Be or Not Be?'
- 'The Watson Headache® Approach: The Essentials'
- 'Manual Therapy for Headache'
- Presented 1, 2, 3 and 4 day workshops Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Singapore, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Norway, Austria, Greece and Italy
- Courses have received previous accreditation in Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom
- Physiotherapy undergraduates and graduates contact Dean for educational advice and support re their research projects
- Dean is available to speak with past course participants from Manual Therapy disciplines as well as other health professionals seeking to support their patients/clients by understanding the role of the neck in headache and migraine
- Dean also supports these health professionals in how to communicate the role of the neck in headache and migraine with colleagues and the public in a professional credible manner
- National Pharmacies Vital Health February 2003 Ask the Expert's Panel to answer health questions
- Liz Mayoh 'How To Stop Your Neck pain Headache With These Tips' Body and Soul