A Belfast physiotherapy practice, Apex Clinic launched Northern Ireland’s first drug-free headache clinic on Tuesday 15th May 2012. Based on a unique regime of specialised manual techniques developed by spinal physiotherapy specialist Rebecca Nelson, the Clinic aims to offer relief to headache sufferers of all ages.
Apex Clinic owner and Director of Physiotherapy, Rebecca Nelson, said: “Anyone who suffers from headaches or migraines knows that they can ruin the quality of their life. Often people don’t realise that many headaches originate from the upper neck region and are caused by stiffness or damage to the joints and muscles of the neck . They don’t know why they are suffering and take tablets to cope with the pain.”
Headache UK states that more than ten million Britons suffer from head pain, with one in 20 experiencing severe headaches regularly. Additionally, The Migraine Trust states that headaches in the UK result in 25 million missed school and working days per year.
Rebecca, who has been practising physiotherapy for more than 20 years in New Zealand and Northern Ireland, said: “Cervicogenic (or neck-related) headaches can affect people of all ages from children to the elderly. They can be caused by a number of things, such as poor posture, long hours at a computer or desk, heavy lifting, a fall or an accident. In many cases, there are no known triggers.”
Rebecca added: “Our initial assessment includes a thorough examination to establish if there is a neck-related component to the headaches and whether our treatment is appropriate. If further investigations or scans are required, our in-house consultant neurologist and headache specialist, Dr Raeburn Forbes, will provide additional medical management.”
Dr Raeburn Forbes said: “I am delighted to be part of Apex Headache Clinic. Cervicogenic or neck-related headaches are probably the most under-recognised headache disorder in the community, yet they can be treated without needing powerful medication. Specialised spinal physiotherapy can be highly effective in such cases. It has been known for years that excessive medication makes many headaches worse and we aim to reduce the need for people to rely on tablets.”
Rebecca added: “We work very closely with the medical profession across all areas of our practice. Whilst this is a self-referring clinic, it is always advisable to have consulted with your GP first about your headaches.”
Apex patient, Keith Lockhart from Belfast said: “I had suffered from painful, persistent headaches for more than 15 years. As a busy architect and father, my headaches were having a terrible impact on my professional and home life. After visiting Apex Clinic , I finally received relief from my headaches and after several weeks of treatment the headaches stopped completely. The difference this has made to my daily life is indescribable.”