The Headache and Migraine Sufferers Bill of Rights (cont)

December 4, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

The second ‘bill’:

“The headache sufferer has the right to be taken seriously by the healthcare providers, whose duty it is to take down a relevant history (I have no issues with these!), conduct a relevant physical examination, provide advice and reassurance and prescribe the treatment most advantageous and acceptable to the patient according to current knowledge.”

The issue I have here is with:

conduct a relevant physical examination

It is appropriate that a neurologist conduct the aspects of the physical examination which rule out serious causes of headache – however and with respect the neurologist, physician, or general practitioner are not skilled in examination of the structures of the upper neck – this is where the ‘system’ fails you, the headache or migraine sufferer …. the prognosis, treatment, advice are dependent on the examination, which at this point in time is incomplete; incomplete because your neck has not been examined comprehensively.

So let’s summarise from the first 2 of the 4 ‘bills’ of rights’:

a precise diagnosis is not possible (and besides, does it mean anything)

the nature of the disorder is a sensitised brainstem

the prognosis and best treatment options are dependent on identifying the reason for the sensitisation

the examination you will get will most likely be incomplete because your neck will not be comprehensively examined and therefore one of the most likely reasons for sensitisation (a neck disorder) will not identified ….

…. which means you are likely to be destined to a lifetime of medication which at best manages the symptoms and not the cause.

It is appropriate that as headache or migraine sufferer that you consult your medical practitioner to exclude serious causes of headache (which are extremely rare) but once the various tests have been carried out and there is nothing to find, then a skilled examination of your neck is indicated. Research has shown that information from neck disorders can sensitise the brainstem.



(Members’ Handbook. International Headache Society 2000 Scandinavian University Press)

© 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’.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!