Headaches and Migraines


Every day 200,000 people in the UK suffer from migraines – that’s one seventh of the population.

The actual cost to the UK is £4.8 billion a year and the World Health Organisation lists migraine in the top 20 disabilities world-wide.

80% of headaches and migraines come from joint problems in the spine at the top of the neck, but still the standard medical treatment is painkillers and other medications instead of offering treatment to correct these joint problems by referring to physiotherapists who are registered with the Watson Headache Institute.

Headache Xray image

So what can be done for headache sufferers?

Dean Watson is an Australian physiotherapist who for the past 20 years has examined and treated the upper necks of headache and migraine sufferers exclusively. His 21,000 hours of clinical experience with over 7000 headache and migraine sufferers is unique.

Wendy Emberson and Diana Brace completed Level 1 and Level 11 of Dean Watson’s courses in 2008/09. Matt Barnaby and Noreen Milkowski completed Level 1 in 2013 and Level 11 in 2014. The objective is for all our clinical staff to have completed the new certification course with Dean in the next 12 months. This will mean that our staff will have the highest level of post graduate training available in the world today.

Dean Watson PhD is recognised internationally as the most experienced manual therapist in the role of upper neck disorders in headache/migraine conditions.

His mission now is to train thousands of physiotherapists across the world so that every headache/migraine sufferer has access to his examination and treatment protocols.

Visit his websites yourheadachesoulutions.co.uk and watsonheadache.com for more information.

“Physiotherapists have the necessary manual therapy skills to treat these joint problems.

What they need is the specific examination techniques to make the correct diagnosis”, says Dean. 

During the clinical examination, he has shown that temporary reproduction followed by reduction of the head pain, confirms that the headache is coming from the neck.

Scans don’t show what happens when the joints are moving, but a skilled clinical examination will identify the problems. This diagnostic accuracy is unparalleled in manual therapy fields/disciplines.

These advanced clinical skills and knowledge form the basis of the Watson Headache Approach, which Dean now teaches internationally.

The effectiveness of this approach has recently been demonstrated by his groundbreaking PhD research which confirms reproduction and lessening of familiar head pain in migraine sufferers desensitises the brainstem - the disorder which not only underpins the migraine process, but other headache syndromes.

This is truly an exciting discovery because this mirrors the temporary effect of the heavy-duty anti-migraine medication.

Accurate diagnosis of exactly how the joints of the top 3 vertebrae, and the joints with the skull, work with each other needs a very specific and specialised examination. If we find that the problem is not coming from the top three vertebrae of the neck then we will refer you to your GP or other appropriate health professional.

It is not in our patient’s, or our best interests, to try and treat something that is not going to resolve with our brand of physiotherapy.