Headaches and migraines have over 300 causes but the majority have a musculoskeletal component, meaning muscles and joints are involved in their production. The dysfunction is often in joints, muscles, nerves and other soft tissues in the neck, head and jaw. Treatment aimed at restoring normal or improved function to these structures has been shown repeatedly to reduce, gain control of or eliminate the headache/migraine.
Training from Dean Watson, founder of the The Watson Institute, has emphasised the importance of the top three cervical vertebrae in the cause of headaches and migraines. Restoring good function to these levels is paramount in the treatment of most headache sufferers. These levels can produce not just headaches but pain in the face, TMJ/jaw, neck, ear and shoulder region. However headaches can also come from other structures as well.
Assessment, therefore, needs to include structures in the neck, head and jaw for possible cause, then treatment can be directed at all the structures involved in headache production. Techniques include releasing soft tissue structures in the neck, face and head, gently mobilising cervical joints using the Watson Technique, posture re-education and self management strategies.
As both the neck and jaw can contribute to headaches, it is important that any professional consulted have training and experience in both neck and jaw areas.