Headache Skills Reloaded – Preparing to run a headache clinic in your practice

Date: 9 November 2019

Course Leader: Helena Bridge

Cost: £109-£135


About the course

Headaches are about as common as back pain. However, little formal education in headache management at undergraduate level exists. Yet once qualified, we often encounter sufferers of these complex, debilitating and clinically challenging conditions.

Current evidence shows that an interdisciplinary approach works best in tackling these varied pain conditions. However, despite much anecdotal and some documented evidence, we are not yet perceived by the wider headache management community as being part of their therapeutic toolkit. 

This course aims to help you expand your skills and integrate them smoothly into existing management pathways to help achieve best outcomes for your headache patient, at the same time allowing you to improve your standing with both GPs and your local specialist care team.

In this one-day headache skills course, we aim to cover the basics of this fascinating topic. We cover basic epidemiology, safety screening for sinister and worrisome headaches, diagnostic algorithms for common and rarer headache conditions, and their evidence-based management both pharmacological and especially non-pharmacological, mainly focusing on skills useful within a manual therapy setting.


Osteopathic Practice Standards (updated) and other CPD elements covered 

A) Communication and patient partnership A1, A2, A3, A5

B) Knowledge, skills and performance B1, B2, B3

C) Safety and quality in practice C1, C4, C6

D Professionalism D3, D10


Learning outcomes

Develop mechanism-based understanding of headaches and recognise head and neck pain referral patterns
Gain familiarity with standard headache and co-morbidity screening tools
Identify common primary headaches using the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-3)
Develop fluency in headache diagnostic algorithms during complex headache case-history taking
Develop an understanding of the management of different chronic headache types incl. medication overuse headache (MOH)  
Gain fluency in physical screening including a 3-minute cranial nerve screen and upper cervical ligament testing and cranio-cervical flexion test
Increase patient collaboration using patient education through resource-sharing and inter-disciplinary approach



09:00 - 09:30 - Registration

09:30 - 10:15 - The ABC of the ICHD-3 – Part 1 section 1 & 2, Primary Headaches: basics of migraine and tension-type headaches & secondary headaches commonly encountered in osteopathic practice 

10:15 - 11:00 - Case history-taking – from safety to diagnosis 

11:00 - 11:30 - Six Headache Cases – To treat or not to treat? 

11:30 - 11:45 - Break

11:45 - 12:30 - Applying the Knowledge: Diagnostic Headache Card game (small group work)

12:30 - 13:30 - Lunch

13:30 - 14:30 - ICHD-3 Part 1 Section 3: Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgias (TACs), focusing mainly on Cluster Headaches and their management  

14:30 - 15:15 - ICHD-3 Part 1 Section 4: Other Headaches

15:15 - 15:30 - Break

15:30 - 16:15 - Taking it into practice 

16:15 - 17:15 - Headache Clinic basics & Drug-free Migraine management (HB) 

17:30 - Finish

Course suitability

This course is suitable for osteopaths, chiropractors, physiotherapists i.e. manual therapists who have undergone long-term in-depth clinical training.


About the course leaders

Drawing on decades of experience gained in headache pain study, teaching and practice, the lecturing team of OPHM (Osteopaths for Progress in Headaches & Migraines) are already becoming known around the UK for their provision of CPD on this important subject. At their inauguration in 2016, they presented a full-day seminar at the iO Convention, and have since given talks to regional societies, run case-sharing events and co-organised a conference at UCO in 2018. OPHM speakers regularly present to the public, GPs and neurologists and write articles on headache management.

Note these speakers are potentially subject to change.

Corina Breukel, DO

Corina qualified as an osteopath from the BCNO, now BCOM, in 1986. Since becoming a founder member of OPHM in 2016, she has worked tirelessly to improve understanding of cluster headaches within the osteopathic profession, speaking at the OPHM iO conference launch in 2016, and at subsequent case-sharing and teaching events. Her recent article on Cluster headaches is in the Jan/Feb 2018 edition of Osteopathy Today, and she has contributed to the iO’s online CPD provision on this topic too.

As mother of a cluster headache sufferer, Corina has informed herself thoroughly to become a vocal patient advocate since her daughter’s diagnosis in 2015, and as such she will speak both from the heart and head. Her view is that this monster of the headache world needs increased awareness, both generally and within the osteopathic profession. Corina is Co-Chair of OPHM, (Osteopaths for Progress in Headaches & Migraines), which provides taught and online headache education to the musculoskeletal professions.

Helena Bridge, DO, PGCE (Clinical & Academic Education), PGCE (Clinical Management of Headache Disorders), Uni of Edinburgh, EOT (Effective Online Tutoring), Uni of Oxford

Helena graduated from the London School of Osteopathy in 1991, having spent her 20s playing as a violinist in UK orchestras and developing musculoskeletal issues including headaches & migraines, which were greatly helped by osteopathic treatment. Since then, she has worked in private practice in London, and her special interest in headaches led to her taking the MSc Pain course at the University of Edinburgh, which incorporated a PGCE in Clinical Management of Headache Disorders, led by Dr Andrew Dowson and Jim Odell.

For the last 5 years, Helena has taught at the ESO, where she now leads the ESO Headache Clinic, under medical supervision. Since 2016, Helena has been Company Secretary and Co-chair of OPHM (Osteopaths for Progress in Headaches & Migraines).

Elizabeth Huzzey

Elizabeth is Principal of Watford Osteopaths, an experienced Osteopath and Acupuncturist with a special interest in drug free treatment options for Headache and Migraines.

As a member of International Headache Society and British Association Study of Headaches since 2010, she has learnt from the world’s leading headache experts and explored what can be offered by acupuncture, physiotherapy, chiropractic; structural and cranial osteopathy; Watson Approach; CBT, lifestyle, nutrition and diet; medications, botox, nerve blocks, TMS and gamma core.

All of this enables her to provide an informed approach of the best treatment options for her patients. She launched The Headache Clinic in 2016. Here she helps patients determine the type of headache they have, carries out a comprehensive examination and provides a range of effective treatments.

She is recommended by GPs and Consultants and in turn has built a trusted network of appropriate professionals to whom she can refer. As a founder member of OPHM – Osteopaths for Progress in Headaches and Migraines, she believes Osteopaths have a valuable part to play in the treatment of headaches but recognises that education, collaboration and research is much needed.

To this end she is part of the OPHM team that lectures in headaches to health professionals and has recently completed her MSc module in Research and Methodology at Birmingham University. She has been invited to complete the full MSc in Headache and facial pain disorders at the University of Copenhagen, a world leading centre for Headache research, later this year.

Mark McWilliam

Mark is the principal of the Cathedral Road clinic in Cardiff. He received a 1st Class Honours degree from the London School of Osteopathy. Mark has an MSc in Pain Management and is an honorary tutor at Cardiff University School of Medicine. He has a special interest in looking at the ways manual and manipulative therapy can help reduce the suffering caused by pain. Mark won the Welsh Pain Society prize in 2010 for his review of an evidence-based framework on which to formulate a physical and manipulative therapeutic approach for the treatment of pain associated with the cervical musculoskeletal components of Migraine and chronic tension-type headaches for primary care physicians. Mark has previously worked in London where he was involved in a NHS, health in the community project delivering osteopathic care within a GP practice in Lewisham.

Vinod Mahtani

A former student of the British School of Osteopathy, Vinod set up in private practice in London soon after graduating in 2002.  He also spent 6 years working in the NHS in a GP practice in Lambeth. Over the years Vinod has developed a special and personal interest in headaches and is currently undertaking an MSc. in The Clinical Management of Pain and Headache Disorders at the University of Edinburgh. 

Vinod is particularly interested in pain and headache research and was recently one of the Allied Health Professionals who carried out the intervention in The Chronic Headache Education and Self-management Study (CHESS) sponsored by the University of Warwick Clinical Trials Unit.



Equipment recommended for the course

Please bring along a sphygmomanometers for CCFT (optional)


Recommended pre-reading

Take a look at the ICHD-3 classification system.

Join OPHM on Facebook and participate if possible.

Cancellation policy


The UCO regrets that no refunds can be made for cancelled places unless a substitute participant can be found.  The UCO cannot guarantee that any course will run.  In the event of your course being cancelled, all paid fees and deposits will be refunded in full.