Watson Headache® Approach
Identifying the Role of the Neck in Headache and Migraine
For Individuals Living With and Health Professionals Managing Headache and Migraine
Watson Headache® Approach is a sequence of manual therapy techniques
and innovative clinical reasoning, identifying and managing relevant neck disorders not only
in cervicogenic headache but also in primary headache.
The Watson Headache® Approach...
... is a manual therapy methodology and protocol for examining and managing the upper cervical spine in headache and migraine conditions.
The specific techniques of the Watson Headache® Approach are supported by, and coupled with, an unprecedented clinical reasoning process born from Dean’s observation of a previously unrecognized clinical pattern.
Essentially the Approach is a method of examining the movements of, and managing musculoskeletal misbehavior of the top three spinal segments of the neck.
The Watson Headache® Approach is a manual (non-manipulative/-cracking) cervical assessment and management Approach which has now been taught internationally to manual therapists; physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths, for over 20 years.
The series of specific, original examination and management techniques, practiced within an uncomplicated (and previously unrecognised) clinical reasoning process, is based on published scientific (peer-reviewed) research.
The Watson Headache® Approach is recognised for its unparalleled diagnostic accuracy, confirming or ruling out relevant neck disorders. It is the only manual cervical approach scientifically validated to diminish the underlying disorder in migraine.
Specifically the Approach;
- aims to identify relevancy of incoming information from the C1-3 spinal nerves to headache and migraine conditions, and also other symptoms potentially arising from the upper 3 spinal segments, for example dizziness or vertigo, cyclic vomiting, idiopathic eye pain etc.
- comprises a series of techniques, which, when applied in a systematic way, accurately identifies the upper cervical spinal segments responsible for symptoms of headache or migraine
- confirms relevancy when reproduction of symptoms (most commonly head pain) occurs, and then, as the examination technique is sustained, resolution of symptoms
- with its unique, fundamental and powerful feature i.e., ‘reproduction and resolution’ of typical head pain in migraineurs was the subject of recent research which demonstrated DE-sensitization of sensitized brainstems. Note: the underlying disorder in headache and migraine is a ‘sensitized brainstem’
- uses the same assessment techniques within unprecedented clinical reasoning to correct musculoskeletal to the involved segments responsible for symptoms of headache or migraine
- is recognized internationally (now practiced and taught in over 25 countries) and is unequaled in manual therapy approaches for headache and migraine conditions.
Despite substantial research demonstrating that disorders of the upper neck can be responsible for the underlying cause of headache and migraine, the chances are (and unfortunately) the diagnosis has disregarded this possibility.
Current research has shown that temporary reproduction (and resolution) of usual head pain when examining structures of the upper neck, occurs in migraine and tension headache. This demonstrates upper cervical (neck) involvement.
The reproduction of headache symptoms is considered essential to confirm upper cervical (neck) involvement in headache and migraine. Certainly if this occurs, one becomes extremely suspicious, but there is a more powerful indicator.
A Powerful Alternative to Ongoing Medication
Assessing the Role Of Cervical Afferents (Neck Input) in Primary Headache
Dr Dean Watson PhD, Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist is a passionate advocate for the role of cervical disorders in primary headache. This has led to a method of assessment and management known as the Watson Headache® Approach, which is now practiced in over 25 countries. Realizing that for a skilled examination of the upper neck to become an accepted, routine course of action when investigating headache and migraine, Dean undertook a PhD research program. This pioneering research investigating relevancy of upper neck disorders in migraine, demonstrated that skilful application of the Watson Headache® Approach positively affects the underlying disorder in migraine, a 'sensitized brainstem'. It is essential that the Medical Model of Headache embrace the interaction between the upper neck and a ‘sensitized brainstem’. This will ensure those affected by headache or migraine are provided with an underestimated and powerful alternative to ongoing, and often increasing, medication.
Short Videos About the Watson Headache® Approach
What is the Watson Headache Approach and What Does This Mean for You and Your Wellbeing? Click the play button to find out.
The Watson Headache Approach and the Medical Model of Headache. Click the play button to learn more.
How Can I Tell if the Watson Headache Approach Could Help Me? Click the play button to discover the one feature that will tell you.
Watson Headache Advocating for the Neck to be Routinely Assessed. Click the play button to discover how.
The Watson Headache® Approach does not involve guesswork
This means that if you are:
- an individual living with headache or migraine you will know whether your neck is the cause before management commences
- a health professional managing headache or migraine you will have a specific sequence of manual therapy techniques underpinned by clinical reasoning and specific skills to identify as well as manage relevant neck disorders in headache and migraine.
Do You, a Family Member, Friend or Colleague Live With Headache or Migraine?
If you are living with headache or migraine it is likely that you also experience neck symptoms (discomfort, stiffness) before and/or during a headache or migraine episode. Learn More...