Migraine, Tension Headache, the Neck and Sensitisation of the Brainstem

August 22, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Is a neck disorder relevant?

Information from the neck - is a neck disorder relevant?

It is generally agreed and it has been demonstrated that the brainstems in migraineurs and tension headache sufferers are sensitised.

The brainstem is influenced by 4 systems:

information from structures inside the head – head scans which fortunately in over 95% of headache and migraine sufferers the scans are clear, will eliminate this factor

the diffuse noxious inhibitory control system – this is poorly understood, but it is the mechanism which acts when you hit your thumb with a hammer and your headache seems less painful – hardly an attractive treatment option!

the serotonin system – serotonin desensitises the brainstem – if there is not enough then the brainstem becomes sensitised – so it makes sense to optimise your production of serotonin – diet, exercise, sunlight and perhaps a L-tryptophan supplement (after checking with your doctor)

information from the neck – get your neck checked. Many of us have a neck disorder, but is it relevant? This can be determined by, when examining the neck, temporarily reproducing familiar head pain which lessens as the technique is sustained. In my 21000 hours of experience this occurs in over 90% of headache and migraine conditions. My approach as a diagnostic tool is unparalleled in the manual therapy area and is in accordance with the views of traditional medicine.

Why does it have to be complicated?

The last two systems are within your control – you can take steps to address these.



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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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