Here at the clinic, all of our physiotherapists are trained in the Nelson Headache Approach; an approach developed by specialist headache and migraine physiotherapist Rebecca Nelson based in Northern Ireland. This involves gentle manual techniques called Passive Accessory Intervertebral Movements where the physiotherapist applies a repetitive pressure to the joints at the top of the neck in order to reduce stiffness and irritation in this area which causes the headaches.

The Nelson Headache Approach involves a four stage protocol with strict parameters depending on the type and distribution of the headache or migraine.

There is an 85% success rate with the Nelson Approach.

As well as hands-on treatment, your physiotherapist will also talk to you about lifestyle changes you can make in order to reduce your headache or migraine. This includes:

  • Pillow types and sleeping position
  • Type and frequency of medications
  • Exercise prescription

Further information:

Our Headache and Migraine Clinic
Headache and Migraine Conditions

Rebecca Nelson states that results are often seen after a couple of treatments and complete clearance of headaches and migraines, on average, takes between four to six treatments.

Treatment sessions are 30 minutes long and may also include other treatments such as acupuncture and massage. We recommend an hour session for the first treatment.

Customer Reviews

Below you can read two reviews from our clients which explain how treatment at our practice has helped them overcome their headaches and migraines.

Little did I know that that visit was about to change my son Aaron’s  life in more ways than one!

Whilst Tom was working on Aaron’s back we got talking about how Aaron was a severe migraine sufferer, being under the care of Great Ormond Street Hospital since he was 9 years old and before that Whipps Cross Hospital.

Over the years Aaron had been prescribed every form of medication going to try and help him with the suffering from these attacks. Both licensed and unlicensed drugs in every shape and form had been tried to no avail. We were are that time considering an optical nerve block as that was the only thing left to try.

Tom informed us of the Rebecca Nelson technique that was on offer at the practice. As I felt all other avenues had been explored we had nothing to lose by giving it a try.

Aaron liked and trusted Tom from the start which helped a lot as he had lost faith in doctors at the hospital. He made him feel relaxed talking about anything from football to the latest TV programmes whilst keeping him and me informed of what he was doing and why he was doing it.

Within a few weeks the change started to happen. Aaron was having  a migraine every 4/5 days lasting 4/5 days at a time, just getting over one before the next attack started. These had began to take their toll after many years and he was a very unwell boy.

After a few sessions with Tom the attack’s became fewer lasting only a day or two.  We continued with treatment every couple of weeks until April and I am pleased to say that Aaron hasn’t had an attack or even a bad headache since then.

He is now a strapping, almost 17 year old, ‘normal’ teenager. He doesn’t walk around looking weak and tired anymore.

We managed to fulfil a promise we made many years ago this year when he was able to swim with dolphins. Something we could not do whilst suffering so badly as we could never plan anything in advance.

This is without doubt something I thank  Tom for.

He has given me back my son!

Aaron was discharged from Great Ormond Street in September and it’s all thanks to Tom.

I would say to anyone who is suffering from headaches or migraines just give Mike Varney a try, what have you got to lose!


I was diagnosed with acute Migraine in 2005 after being admitted to A & E on a regular basis with persistent vomiting, extreme lethargy, aura and crippling headaches!  For eleven of the last 12 years I have been referred to various Neurologists all of which wanted to try a different drug to the last resulting in me having to take a cocktail of drugs on a daily basis only to not feel any different.

In 2007 the Migraines had become so debilitating I had no alternative but to retire from a profession I had been in for 34 years.

At this stage I was pretty desperate to try anything that might improve the symptoms I was experiencing.  The Migraines were lasting between 7-10 days and as soon as I was over one I would start going into another!  Life by now was pretty grim, I had stopped socialising with friends and family, going on holiday and it was impossible to plan anything.

One day whilst visiting Mike Varney Physiotherapy for a Massage to try and relieve the constant tension in my neck I saw the leaflet mentioning they specialise in the treatment of Migraine.  I decided to make an appointment and without doubt it has been the best decision I have made in years!

Ten months of having regular treatment and regular consultations with Physiotherapist Tom Green I can honestly say within the first few treatments I experienced change to my symptoms.  The sickness stopped, the Migraines got shorter and the time in between having them lengthened.

I now have my life back, having regular holidays, a social life and look forward to the future.

I would urge any sufferer of Migraine to try this treatment.  It may not cure you overnight, however with regular treatment you will hopefully reap the benefits and notice a change in your symptoms’.