Watson Headache Approach
Our physiotherapist Dr Chen is experienced in the assessment and management of the upper neck via the Watson Headache Approach to determine if the neck is contributing to your headache condition. A systematic assessment and treatment of the upper neck could help relieve headache symptoms by desensitising the brainstem.
Emerging research supports the role of a sensitised brainstem in migraines, cervicogenic, and tension headaches. The brainstem sits at the bottom of the brain, and functions as the control centre for the flow of messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Muscles, joint capsules and ligaments of the upper neck share a common nerve pathway with the trigeminal nerve, which passes sensation from facial skin, jaw muscles, and the inner lining of the brain via the brainstem. The shared nerve pathway between the neck, face, and head supports the potential link between the upper neck and headaches or migraines.
The Watson technique consists of manual therapy, postural training, and exercise prescription and does not involve cervical manipulation (i.e. ‘cracking’ of the neck joints). Around five treatments are typically required to experience noticeable changes to your headache symptoms. The approach is medication-free, non-invasive, and has demonstrated effectiveness in relieving people of their recurring headache and migraine symptoms.