Physio First: Education Day 2018

Friday 27 April by Dean Watson

East Midlands Conference Centre

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Founder of the Watson Headache Approach

Dean Watson

Dean Watson’s vision is that a skilled examination of the upper neck is genuinely accepted as a legitimate, routine practice when investigating headache and migraine conditions.

Dean is the Founder of the Watson Headache Approach, which is now recognised internationally for its unparalleled diagnostic accuracy and uncomplicated innovative clinical reasoning.

He has presented and taught internationally since 1995, and because of his unique experience with over 8,000 headache and migraine sufferers, continues to be sought after as Clinical Consultant at the Watson Headache Clinic as well as Educator and Professional Mentor for the Watson Headache Institute.

Dean is currently finishing his PhD research program at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, which has, according to some, resulted in the most significant cervical manual therapy headache research in decades. Find out more about Dean and his approach here

This half day workshop will introduce the theory of the Watson Headache® Approach and the literature supporting the role of physiotherapeutic attention to the upper cervical spine in primary headache conditions. This will be followed by description and demonstration of several passive mobilisation examination and treatment technique.  The workshop will culminate with the tutor examining and treating of an unseen patient with a diagnosis of Menstrual Migraine or Migraine.   

Learning outcomes

By the end of this session delegates will gain an understanding

  • Of the inadequacy of headache diagnosis
  • Of the role of physiotherapeutic attention to the upper cervical segments
  • Of how to determind the relevancy of upper cervical afferents in a Primary Headache
  • Principles of managing relevant cervical afferent based on symptom response

Course aims

To provide delegates with:

  • The theoretical concepts of the Watson Headache Approach
  • Demonstration of manual cervical examination and treatment techniques
  • Clinical application of the concepts/principles of the Watson Headache Approach on an unseen patient with primary headache/menstrual migraine/migraine

Skills gained

  • An understanding as to how cervical afferents are involved in Primary headache
  • An insight as to the previously unrecognised clinical (upper cervical biomechanical) pattern in headache/migraine... the 'Watson Headache Chain Reaction'

Practical application

Delegates will recognise that a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists we have a much more significant role to play in headache than in just Cervicogenic Headache - with appropriate knowledge, skill and clinical reasoning one can determine if cervical afferent are instrumental in a Primary Headache condition


Contemporary headache education in undergraduate physiotherapy programs is based on the traditional medical model of headache which is now seen (by some authorities within the model) to be irrelevant. This workshop will introduce the clinical concepts of the Watson Headache® Approach which will then be demonstrated on an unseen patient with primary headache (ideally with a diagnosis of Menstrual Migraine or Migraine).  This translation of theory into clinical practice will enlighten and elevate Physio First members’ interest providing a scientifically validated manual cervical intervention for Primary Headache sufferers when, currently, the only option is pharmaceutical management.


Please note that this course is a half-day event. Delegates are welcome to arrive from 12:00hrs for a hot two course buffet lunch which is included in the ticket price. The course will commence from 13:00hrs-16:30hrs including a practical demonstration and question time. A refreshment break will take place at 15.00hrs.