Chronic Migraine and Episodic Migraine

September 27, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

In the 1980s it was suggested that the migraine state was a progressive condition.1

Over recent years there has been significant research which shows that this in fact is the case – that migraine is a continuum or spectrum disorder, i.e. a process in which episodic migraine may or may not evolve into chronic migraine.2,3 Indeed, the findings of various physiological and imaging (of the brain) investigative techniques suggest that the features of the ‘mis-behaving’ brain during episodic migraine are present persistently in chronic migraine sufferers.4 Three per cent of individuals with episodic migraine progress to chronic migraine over the course of a year.3

This brain dysfunction (or mis-behaviour) has been shown to be sensitisation of the brainstem and one of the sensitising factors could be abnormal information from a neck disorder or injury. Confirmation of this is not difficult or costly – a skilled examination of the upper neck is all that is required.



(Aurora SK. Is chronic migraine one end of a spectrum of migraine or a separate entity? Cephalalgia 2009;29:597-605

Bigal ME, Lipton RB. Concepts and mechanisms of migraine chronification. Headache 2008; 48:7–15.

Cady RK, Schreiber CP, Farmer KU. Understanding the patient with migraine: the evolution from episodic headache to chronic neurologic disease. A proposed classification of patients with headache. Headache 2004; 44:426–35.

Mathew NT, Stubits E, Nigam MP. Transformation of episodic migraine into daily headache: analysis of factors. Headache 1982; 22:66–8)

© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.

About dean
Consultant Headache & Migraine Physiotherapist; International Teacher; Director, The Headache Clinic & Watson Headache Institute; PhD Candidate Murdoch University, Western Australia; Adjunct Lecturer, Masters Program, Physiotherapy School, University of South Australia; MAppSc(Res) GradDipAdvManipTher Experienced health practitioners trained in the Watson Headache Approach perform the examination and treatment techniques developed by Dean Watson. These techniques are based on his extensive experience of 7000 headache patients (21,000 hours) over 21 years and are now taught internationally. For your nearest practitioner who has completed training in the ‘Watson Headache Approach’ please refer to the ‘Practitioner Directory’.

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