Cluster Headache segment on Channel 10 – The Project

Hello all,

It was a very confronting segment tonight on Channel 10’s “The Project” which inspired me to write this short article.   Those with Cluster Headaches know that this pain is extremely severe, debilitating and affects not only the sufferers but takes quite a massive toll on families, friends, workers and others around them.  Typically it is characterised by stabbing pain on one side of the head, which lasts from 15 minutes to 3 hours (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter), which can come on as quickly as it can disappear – and often have periods of remission.  Living life in this way is incredibly stressful for sufferers and their loved ones, as although attacks can happen in a predictable manner, often it can happen seemingly at random also.

I have seen over 30 cases of this present to the clinic here in the last 12 months.  Some have had attacks in the waiting room before their first appointment so I have seen it happen first hand!  The research into all types of headache (including Cluster Headache), and also our clinical experience, is showing that regardless of diagnosis or severity of pain, the pain signal itself begins in a place in the lower brainstem called the trigeminocervical nucleus.  This signal is in most cases activated by one or more joints in the top of the neck, and there have been quite amazing improvements made to Cluster Headache sufferers by treating the upper neck in a targeted, specific way.

What does this all mean for you reading this?  Now I understand if this next statement provokes skepticism out there, and due to legislative restrictions we are unable to publish testimonials on this website to back this up (though some very kind people have posted to third party sites about their positive experiences!)…

I have successfully treated many Cluster Headache sufferers by treating the upper cervical spine.  My most recent case was this week.  The key to diagnosis is locating the joint in the upper neck (by pushing on it) that refers the familiar pain of headache, sustaining digital pressure on that particular joint, and allowing the headache to decrease completely as the pressure is sustained.  If this occurs, improvement should happen quickly.  If it doesn’t, then we refer onto someone else for assessment.

Anyone who suffers Cluster Headaches, or anyone who knows somebody who lives with Cluster Headaches, are encouraged to touch base with me where I am more than happy to further explain in detail how this works, and answer questions about how I could be able to help them.  I am not here to trick anybody or offer false hope, because sufferers have generally had plenty of that already in their journeys – I am only speaking from my own experiences with treating Cluster Headaches, and on behalf of those who I have treated who have encouraged me to increase awareness of what it is that we do here at Brisbane Headache Centre.

I would like to thank Channel 10 and The Project for broadcasting this story to make the wider community aware of this unbelievably severe condition.  What needs to be done now is to gain awareness into the exact mechanisms of how Cluster Headaches happen, have increasing research to provide more and more evidence so that this condition is recognised and treated much sooner, and to increase awareness of the role of the upper neck in the development of headache in sufferers.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day.

Chris Fawcett – Director, Brisbane Headache Centre
1300 16 55 33  or  (07) 3012 6076

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