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72 Byron Street Bangalow

How We Work

At Bangalow Headache Clinic our consultants use several approaches, one being the Watson Headache ® Approach. This treatment is the result of the pioneering work of Australian physiotherapist Dean Watson.

Watson has identified a previously ignored fault in the top of the neck responsible for overstimulating the brainstem and has discovered how to treat it.

Ground breaking research into the Watson Headache ® Approach​ shows very clearly that we can treat the common underlying problem in migraine headache – an overstimulated brainstem.

The area in the brainstem that houses all the nerves for the head and face (the trigeminal nucleus) is overstimulated constantly in people suffering migraines. The nerves from the upper three segments of the neck (C1-C3) feed directly into the trigeminal nucleus yet are dismissed as being irrelevant by conventional medicine. Sadly, this has led to a fault in the top of the neck being ignored and poorly treated, until now.

Safe, effective, fast, and natural migraine treatment


All techniques involve targeted, slow and sustained pressure. There is NO manipulation (cracking) of the spine.


80% of people assessed have treatable and relevant dysfunction. Most of these will see significant changes in the first two weeks.


Your initial treatment block lasts for only two weeks. The aim of this block is to alter the underlying dysfunction to such a point that successful self-management becomes possible.

Bangalow Headache Clinic aims for self-management – not endless ongoing treatments!

At the end of this initial block there should be a significant improvement in symptoms, which will indicate that further treatment will be beneficial. Should significant improvement not be achieved in this time treatment will cease.

When clients receive benefits from the initial treatments, the ongoing treatment is rarely more than 2 or 3 more sessions.

This is because:

  • you are effectively self-managing and you don’t need further treatment, or
  • the progression to self management has not been successful, in which case further treatment will rarely change that outcome.

Either way, our hands-on treatment ceases at this time, in all but the rarest of circumstances.


No drugs, needles, toxic chemicals or side-effects. Just correcting a previously misunderstood fault in biomechanics and gently re-aligning parts of the body to unload tissues and nerves.



Headache presents differently in each person, so we spend the time to listen and understand what has been happening for you. This provides us with valuable information we use to thoroughly and accurately assess your headache/migraine condition. The information you provide allows us to assess your response and progress.

Rather than hope that your condition is going to respond to our treatment we thoroughly assess the top of your neck. This gentle process will provide key findings, which will indicate if treatment should go ahead. In 80% of assessments we identify and reverse a previously misunderstood and poorly treated fault in the top of the neck. In the 20% of people in whom we don’t find a relevant problem, we don’t treat. As much as we would like to treat everybody, we know we cannot and don’t waste the time of those in whom we know the techniques will be ineffective.

The first task in your hands-on assessment is to identify the presence of a rare fault in the top of the neck. Many practitioners will have seen this fault before and not know what it was or how to treat it. Mistakenly they will have tried to stretch it and massage it, but without identifying the reason for the fault it recurs.

The fault is a pressure problem inside the soft tissues between the second and third vertebrae. This triggers a spasm under the base of the skull. Most practitioners you have seen before will have felt the spasm and mistakenly treated it directly, stretching, massaging, dry needling and manipulating the first and second vertebrae. This can often lead to short term relief as the spasm reduces temporarily. Then it returns and treatment goes on and on with no real progress.

Without touching the muscle at all we can relieve the spasm within 30 seconds by redirecting pressure in the right direction through a select vertebra. Such rapid response of the muscle indicates we are ‘switching it off’ and gives the strongest possible indication that self-management will be successful.

It may be surprising but even at this stage it is often not enough to go ahead into treatment.

We also need to identify whether the condition outlined above is actually responsible for your symptoms. With selective stress of each of the upper cervical joints, your typical head pain or associated symptoms can be temporarily reproduced. If so, the pressure is sustained and the referred pain should start to subside after 20-30 seconds

​This reproduction and resolution of typical symptoms confirms the relevance of the upper cervical spine to your headache or migraine (in line with International Headache Society classification guidelines), provides us with an accurate diagnosis, and tells us whether our treatment is right for your condition.

Comprehensive safety testing is also undertaken to ensure the safest possible environment for assessing and treating your neck.


Cancellation Policy

The Bangalow Headache Clinic operates to support those in our community who suffer from debilitating headaches and migraines, jaw and vestibular problems . In order to ensure that we can see as many patients in the small amount of time that we have available we need to ensure that all available appointment times are utilised. As such, any patient who does not provide at least 24 hours’ notice of their intention to cancel or not attend a scheduled appointment will be charged 50% of the scheduled fee for that appointment time.

Missed appointment will set you back in your recovery, so we ask that wherever possible you keep all your appointments.