The Watson Headache ® Approach recognizes that the neck is vitally important in the treatment of headaches and migraines and thus diagnosis and treatment is focused around treating this area.

Dr Dean Watson PhD (musculoskeletal physiotherapist), an Australian physiotherapist, developed the Watson Headache ® Approach and has spent the past 30 years treating headaches and migraines. He recognised that there was a gap in understanding and treatment for headache and migraine sufferers and sought to bridge that gap with further research and education. Dean realized that the neck was being severely under diagnosed as the cause of headaches and migraines and so he began researching the connection between the two.

In Dean’s first publication with P.D Drummond, 100% of tension type headache sufferers and 94% of migraine sufferers had their familiar head pain reproduced via thorough examination of their neck, showing the significant connection between head pain and the neck.
Watson DH, Drummond PD. Head Pain Referral During Examination of the Neck in Migraine and Tension-Type Headache. Headache 2012;52:1226-1235
​So, the connection between the neck and head pain had been confirmed however many people have already had their neck treated before. How is the Watson Headache ® Approach different? The other piece of the puzzle that still needed solving for headaches and migraines was the sensitisation of the brainstem, which is widely regarded as the underlying disorder in migraines.

So Dean Watson and P.D Drummond continued their research and published a second paper that showed that when treating the upper cervical spine using the Watson Headache ® Approach in migraine sufferers, it worked to de-sensitise the brainstem. For the first time, a treatment for the neck was found to treat the underlying cause of migraines.
Watson DH, Drummond PD. Cervical Referral of Head Pain in Migraineurs: Effects on the Nociceptive Blink Reflex. Headache 2014;54:1035-1045

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