Optimising Headache and Migraine Treatment

December 6, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Whilst I was in the UK recently I had the opportunity to meet with several of my accredited practitioners.

I am pleased to say that the results of treatment/feedback from headache and migraine sufferers was amazing. This has increased their (the practitioners’) enthusiasm for a more substantial course (I am already doing two and one day courses).

There was unanimous agreement that it should be a ten day course for small groups of already accredited practitioners. In this course or ‘Master -Class’, the aim would be to examine and treat headache and migraine sufferers on 3-4 occasions, and how to progress from one treatment session to the next.

It was always my aim to develop the best possible teaching model – here it comes! (and it is being driven by practitioners wanting the best possible outcomes for you the headache or migraine sufferer).

Cheers

Dean

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

Visual Aura and Migraine

November 13, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Have a skilled examination of your neck.

Have a skilled examination of your neck.

Cervicogenic (neck related) Headache, according to the International Headache Society1 is side-locked i.e. it is one-sided headache which does not change sides. In my experience however, a one-sided headache that changes sides is a Cervicogenic Headache.

I remember a patient of mine whose visual aura changed sides i.e. for the first 10’ it was on the left, and then for the last 10’ changed to the right. After treating her very stiff C2-3 spinal segment, the patient was and has remained free of her visual aura.

If your one-sided headache changes sides or it is both sides simultaneously but worse on one side and the worst side changes, it is your neck, and furthermore, it is the C2-3 spinal segment which is at fault – this is based on over 21000 hours of clinical experience with headache and migraine sufferers.

My message – have a skilled examination of your neck…

Cheers

Dean

(Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edn. Cephalalgia 2004; 24(suppl.1):1-151)

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

Level I Headache and Migraine Course in Cambridge

November 1, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Level I Course Cambridge, England

Level I Course Cambridge, England

I have been presenting Level I courses in Cambridge for the past 3 years and it has been a popular venue – not only for physiotherapists in the UK but also physiotherapists from the continent.

A couple of years ago a physiotherapist came from Spain, however this year over half of the course delegates on the Level I course were from various countries including Belgium, Italy, Greece and Portugal.

This of course is pleasing, not only do headache and migraine sufferers in these countries now have another (drug-free) option, but also other opportunities which provide further support to physiotherapists in these countries who have a desire to treat headache and migraine – I am now not only presenting in Spain regularly, but also have been invited to present at a national conference in Spain and to present courses in Greece and Portugal.

Cheers

Dean

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

Migraine: To Treat or Not To Treat – The Dilemma!

October 5, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

….. this was the title of my second presentation at the CRAFT Conference in Nuremberg.

The traditional medical model is largely dismissive of the role of neck disorders in the migraine process. However my clinical experience of over 21000 hours with headache and migraine sufferers contradicts this view.

Now I do not expect people to accept my perspective without question but when the reply I get is:

“Well we don’t know where migraine comes from or what it is, but it can’t come from the neck.”

I get a just a little frustrated ….. think about this for a minute ….. if you don’t know where something is coming from you cannot say it does not come from the neck!

My reply is:

“Can you show me it doesn’t come from the neck?”

….. which of course they can’t.

In this presentation I put forward the evidence, the research (of which there is plenty), which shows quite clearly that neck disorders can be the key to the migraine process and how we as physiotherapists can identify this.

Cheers

Dean

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

Summary of the Watson Headache Institute

September 12, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

The Watson Headache Institute was established to increase the awareness of cervicogenic (neck) disorders in headache and migraine by:

imparting my (and that of others) clinical experience and knowledge

and,

undertaking and supporting rigorous clinical and scientific research in this specialty (I am currently a PhD Candidate investigating the role of cervicogenic dysfunction in the mechanism of migraine at Murdoch University, Western Australia).

and,

in determining whether or not a neck (cervicogenic) disorder is the cause of or a significant contributing factor to headache or migraine.

It is recognised

that neck (cervicogenic) dysfunction is significantly underestimated

that a neck (cervicogenic) dysfunction can be the cause of various forms of headache and migraine.

that the necks of all (primary) headache and migraine sufferers should be examined

To this end it is my objective to pass on this experience to my colleagues and headache and migraine sufferers

because

it is irresponsible to treat irrelevant cervicogenic (neck) dysfunction in migraine and headache conditions.

However

given that the causes of migraine and tension headache are not clear, the advances in our knowledge of pain mechanisms and the not insignificant body research supporting cervicogenic factors as key players in the headache and migraine processes,

it is also irresponsible NOT to examine the necks of headache sufferers irrespective of the diagnosis.

Cheers

Dean

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

Supporting You, Along With Your Doctor

September 1, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Determining the cause of your head pain and symptoms

Determining the cause of your head pain and symptoms

Supporting you, along with your doctor, in determining the cause of your head pain and symptoms is one of the goals of the Watson Headache Institute.

It also provides a network of highly trained practitioners who are dedicated to achieving a successful treatment outcome for headache and migraine sufferers.

If you have had medical tests such as an MRI, Cat Scan and X-ray which have proved negative, then before undertaking ongoing medication, a skilled examination of the neck is an important step to understanding the nature of your pain as precisely as possible.

Identifying whether you have any spinal segment involvement in your headache or migraine can be achieved by seeking the advice of a practitioner skilled in assessing the role of the neck in your headache or migraine pain.

If you would you like an Internationally Trained Practitioner to assist you with your Headache or Migraine pain please go to the home page and read the information under the heading of ‘Practitioner’.

Cheers

Dean

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

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.

Cheers

Dean

(Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edn. Cephalalgia 2004; 24(suppl.1):1-151

Katsavara Z, Giffin N, Diener HC, Kaube H. Abnormal habituation of ‘nociceptive’ blink reflex in migraine – evidence for increased excitability of trigeminal nociception. Cephalalgia 2003; 23:814-819

Katsavara Z, Lehnerdt G, Duda B, Ellrich J, Diener HC, Kaube H. Sensitization of trigeminal nociception specific for migraine but not pain of sinusitis. Neurology 2002; 59:1450-1453

Kaube H, Katasavara Z, Przywara S, Drepper J, Ellrich J, Diener HC. Acute migraine headache. Possible sensitization of neurons in the spinal trigeminal nucleus? Neurology 2002; 58:1234-1238

Jull G, Bogduk N, Marsland A. The accuracy of manual diagnosis for cervical zygapophyseal joint pain syndromes. Med J Aust. 1988 Mar 7;148(5):233-6

Milanov I, Bogdanova D. Trigemino-cervical reflex in patients with headache. Cephalalgia 2003; 23:35-38

Nardone R, Tezzon F. The trigemino-cervical reflex in tension-type headache. European Journal of Neurology 2003; 10(3):307-312

Nardone R et al Trigemino-Cervical Reflex Abnormalities in Patients with Migraine and Cluster Headache. Headache 2008; 48(4):578-585

Sandrini G, Cecchini AB, Milanov I, Tassorelli C, Buzzi MG, Nappi G. Electrophysiological evidence for trigeminal neuron sensitisation in patients with migraine. Neurosci Lett 2002; 317:135-138

Sjaastad O, Fredricksen TA, Pfaffenrath V. Cervicogenic headache: diagnostic criteria. Headache 1998; 38:442-5)

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

A Breakthrough in Treating Headache and Migraine

July 20, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

How a UK based Physiotherapist, Jayne Davies, has helped headache and migraine sufferers using the ‘Watson Headache Approach’.

Physiotherapist Jayne Davies finds it frustrating that physiotherapy for headaches does not get the publicity it deserves. Ms Davies works in both the NHS and privately, and has trained in a variety of techniques for treating headaches.

She says a breakthrough only occurred in her work after taking Dean Watson’s course, and she is now an assistant teacher on the UK courses. “It’s quite amazing. I’ve had a lot of patients who have had migraines for years and they have gone completely after using Dean Watson’s treatment, although this doesn’t happen for everyone.”

Quoted in Frontline Magazine, Issue 17th June 2009, the official journal of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in the United Kingdom, Titled “When Headache is a Pain the Neck” by Louise Hunt
© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.

Attention Headache Sufferers “Is Headache Or Migraine Pain Controlling Your Life?”

July 15, 2009 by Dean Watson · Leave a Comment 

To get a FREE Report, which gives you knowledge that may help you manage your Headache or Migraine problem more effectively, just enter your name and email address to your right and you will be given instant access to this valuable information.

arrow

Posture is a Problem in Headache and Migraine Sufferers

July 5, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Headache and migraine sufferers have postural abnormalities

Headache and migraine sufferers have postural abnormalities

Headache and migraine sufferers are twice more likely to have postural problems.

Twenty four migraineurs, 24 tension headache patients and 24 with both migraine and tension-type headache were assessed. Postural abnormalities were identified in 90% of the headache and migraine patients, compared to 46% of controls. A forward head or poking chin posture has been linked to cervicogenic (neck), suggesting that cervicogenic (neck) dysfunction is also common to migraine and tension headache.

Furthermore 75% of the headache and migraine patients presented with trigger points in the neck compared to 46% of controls. Joint abnormalities are a common finding in cervicogenic headache; interestingly, they are also prevalent in migraineurs and tension headache sufferers.

These two findings support my clinical experience which indicates that cervicogenic disorders are part of the migraine and tension headache process and that examination of the neck should be mandatory for headache and migraine sufferers.

Cheers

Dean

(Marcus DA, Scharff L,Mercer S,Turk DC. Abnormalities in Chronic Headache: A Controlled Comparison of Headache Diagnostic Groups. Headache 1999;39(1);21-27

Watson DH, Trott PH. Cervical headache: an investigation of natural head posture and upper cervical flexor muscle performance. Cephalalgia 1993;13:272-284)

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