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Migraines aren’t just head-pounding affairs; some will also send you into a spin.

Dizziness can be a challenging experience, with over 36% of Australians over 50 self-reporting dizziness and vertigo1. Australian Headache and Migraine Clinic’s headache clinician, Jenny, sheds light on the often-overlooked culprit: vestibular migraine. As an expert in headache and migraine disorders, she provides insights for those grappling with unexplained dizziness.

Understanding Vestibular Migraine: Vestibular migraine, a subtype characterised by recurrent vertigo, dizziness, and unsteadiness, can be challenging to diagnose due to the absence of a throbbing headache. Common in females aged 30 to 40, its symptoms often go unrecognised.


Common Symptoms:

Vertigo Attacks: While migraines are typically associated with headaches, vestibular migraines manifest as vertigo attacks, leaving individuals disoriented and unbalanced.


Visual Disturbances: Visual disturbances, including sensitivity to light and visual aura, complicate the diagnostic process, with shimmering lights and zigzag patterns in the field of vision.


Neck Pain and Tension: Overlooked symptoms like neck pain and tension are indicative of vestibular migraine. The Watson’s Approach underscores the link between the vestibular system and the cervical spine.


Cognitive Impairment: Cognitive difficulties, such as difficulty concentrating and memory lapses, pose challenges for daily responsibilities.


Nausea and Vomiting: Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and vomiting, often present without a headache, contribute to overall distress.


In Queensland, around 20,000 patients annually visit the Emergency Department due to dizziness2.


Watson Headache® Approach for Vestibular Migraine

The Watson Headache® Approach, an expert physiotherapy method, focuses on the dysfunction of the upper cervical spine. Thorough subjective and physical examinations provide detailed insights into a person’s condition, guiding the development of individualised treatment plans.



Understanding the diverse manifestations of vestibular migraine is crucial for those grappling with unexplained dizziness. The Watson Headache® Approach, with its comprehensive assessment and personalised treatment plans, offers hope for individuals navigating vestibular disorders. Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic’s physiotherapists, employing the Watson’s Approach, empower patients to regain control and embrace a future free from the disorientation of dizziness. For more information, visit Brisbane Migraine or call 1800 432 322 (1800 HEADACHE).


  1. Gopinath, B., McMahon, C. M., Rochtchina, E., & Mitchell, P. (2009). Dizziness and vertigo in an older population: the Blue Mountains prospective cross-sectional study. Clinical otolaryngology : official journal of ENT-UK ; official journal of Netherlands Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology & Cervico-Facial Surgery, 34(6), 552–556.
  2. Mitchell, M. (2023). Turning vestibular service delivery on its head. InMotion Magazine, (June, 2023).


Written by:

Jenny Qian 

Headache Clinician

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