Headache and Migraine Treatment

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We offer evidence based treatments that were certainly not around a few years ago. It involves NO cracking or high velocity joint manipulation. It is safe!

John Wilson has been trained in the treatment application and expert management of headache and migraine. As of this date he is only one of 3 fully qualified Watson Headache Practitioners in Victoria.


If you are a migraine sufferer these are important things and information to be taken into account

  1. Any history of neck trauma/whiplash 

  2. Is your headache/migraine limited to your menstrual cycle i.e. 2 days prior or day 10?

  3. Distribution of head pain

  4. Can it alternate sides?

  5. Duration

  6. Intensity

  7. Frequency of Headaches

  8. Type of headache i.e. pulsing, deep ache, tightness or other

This information at the onset of your treatment helps us diagnose and reassess your improvement. A headache diary can be beneficial. 

Evidence behind the Efficacy (Why this works)

In many cases neck pain and headache/migraine are related. Problems in the upper neck will cause irritation to be sensed by the enclosed brain stem within the spinal column. This area is known as the Trigeminal-cervical nucleus and is the irritated region. It will refer pain to the head and exactly reproduce the headache/migraine distribution in headache sufferers. If we are able to reproduce and resolve this pain by sustaining a complex joint stretch it shows that neck structures are referring the pain to the head. In these cases physiotherapy can help. 

Repeated applications have been shown to decrease all pain reproduction, headache intensity, frequency, duration and the associated sensory problems i.e. aura, nausea, photophobia. Responses are usually instantaneous and don't require a lot of treatment. It is very important to reproduce and resolve the pain as this confirms that it can come from the neck. Research has shown that the brain stem becomes less excited/irritated in response to repeated pressure over the upper cervical spine joints.


In summary, stiff or poorly functioning neck joints cause an irritation. That irritation can be further irritated by postural muscular tension through it from our shoulders. It can also be irritated by hormones, fatigue, tension from stress or emotion. Pain from this part of the neck is referred into the head. With a much greater volume and duration compared to other musculoskeletal irritation or tension conditions.

There is no cracking and crunching or pushing hard in these treatments. We just help the joints work which will reduce the irritation and referred pain.


Who does it work on?

Most people! Even longstanding chronic headache sufferers or whiplash patients with headaches. Especially menstrual migraneurs as an irritated brain stem is further irritated by a monthly change in hormones. 

The Watson Headache approach

The innovative techniques of the Watson Headache Approach are supported by and coupled with an unprecedented clinical reasoning process born from Dean Watson's observation of a previously unrecognised clinical pattern. Essentially the approach is a method of examining the movements of, an treating, the top three spinal segments of the neck.

It comprises a series of techniques, which, when applied in a systematic way, accurately identifies the upper cervical spinal segments responsible for symptoms of headaches or migraines or other symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, idiopathic eye pain etc. There is evidence based research to support this. 

We use the same assessment techniques within unprecedented clinical reasoning to treat and restore function to the involved segments and to resolve head pains. 

If you are a migraine sufferer, book in with us now!