Migraine, Headache And The Brainstem

August 27, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

There is clear clinical and experimental evidence that the BRAINSTEM plays a pivotal role in the migraine process.

Migraine and headache are conditions in which normal light is unpleasant, normal sound uncomfortable, and where there is an abnormal interpretation of activity – one in which normal pulsing of arteries is felt as pain.

Information from the visual and auditory systems along with activity of structures from inside the head are transmitted through the brainstem to the cortex where it is interpreted – it seems as though the cortex is misled by a sensitised or hyper excitable brainstem.

The key to successful treatment is determining the source of the sensitisation of the brainstem – information from neck disorders is neglected by traditional medicine as a potential source. Whilst it is important and responsible that other possibilities be investigated, given the clinical and experimental evidence, it is irresponsible that the neck not be considered.



(Goadsby PJ. Migraine pathophysiology: The brainstem governs the cortex. Cephalalgia 2003;23:565-566

Knight Y. Brainstem modulation of caudal trigeminal nucleus: A model for understanding migraine biology and future drug targets. Headache Currents 2005 Vol. 2, No. 5:108-118)

© 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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