The Traditional Medical Model of Headache

Where to From Here With Diagnosis?

Abnormalities of the upper neck are thought not to play a causal role in headache and migraine conditions. It follows then that disorders of the neck are largely ignored in headache and migraine diagnosis.

The traditional medical model of headache and migraine does not consider abnormalities of the upper neck to play a causal role in the headache and migraine conditions; the model has demonstrated little action in exploring this as a possibility in headache and migraine diagnosis. It is essential that all factors, which have the potential to sensitise the brainstem (the underlying disorder in headache and migraine conditions) be investigated equally.

Disorders of the Upper Neck are Largely Ignored

Currently this is not the situation – disorders of the upper neck are largely ignored in headache and migraine treatment and diagnosis in both sufferers.

Almost all of the medical model is caught up in a pharmaceutical web; migraine and headache drugs dominate the entire headache and migraine landscape. Furthermore, this landscape is distorted by unrealistic, and for the most part, irrelevant, argument regarding the validity (and usefulness) of headache and migraine diagnosis.

But what’s at stake here is not academic; this is about the potential to lead a headache-free (or at least significantly improved) life, preventing a lifetime of ongoing (and often increasing) medication.

The Nature of Headache Care is Not a Fringe Issue

The nature of headache care (which directly affects 90% of the population and many more indirectly) is not a fringe issue – it is a mainstream issue in society.  It is not hard to understand why over the past 10 years, many experiencing headache and migraine have sought relief from complementary and alternative medicine.

Fortunately, a small but significant number of internationally recognised doctors and researchers working in this field are concerned about the direction headache and migraine care is going. They recognise that disorders of the upper neck can play a pivotal role in headache and migraine conditions syndromes as well as diagnosis and treatment.

Let’s Push on With Advocating for the Role of the Neck

Now that is refreshing and encouraging – let’s push on with advocating for the role of the neck when making a headache diagnosis, including migraine!

Many patients after having received an initial diagnosis, receive a second, with some getting 3-4 diagnoses! This is clearly unsatisfactory… and is the result of trying to prove an untruth. The various types of headache and migraine are not separate entities, they are on a continuum… different  expressions of a shared, common [and often worsening] disorder and that is a sensitized brainstem.

Until next time

If you are new to Watson Headache®, welcome to the Watson Headache® Approach, an evidence-informed practice when considering the role of the neck in Cervicogenic and Primary Headache.

Scroll to Top