Headache and Migraine Assessment
Your initial consultation is an in-depth assessment of your headache behaviour. Our assessment techniques are comprehensive, yet targeted, and we allow up to 90 minutes to ensure we have a thorough understanding of your condition.
Headache presents differently in each person, so by listening to your story we gain valuable insight into how your particular headache or migraine behaves. Understanding this enables us to diagnose more accurately, and, importantly, sets benchmarks for improvement.
Rather than hope that your condition is going to respond to our treatment we look for three key findings will indicate that treatment should go ahead. In 80% of assessments we find these three key elements - the first two of which identify and reverse a previously misunderstood and poorly treated fault in the top of the neck. The third confirms whether this problem is contributing to your symptoms. 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 core element 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.
This leads to the second core element. The fault is a pressure problem between the second and third vertebrae which 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 the vertebrae below. 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.
The third core element of the headache and migraine assessment is 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.