Bachelor of Health Sciences (Physiotherapy)
Dominic comes to Gold Coast Headache and Migraine Clinic after gaining a wide range of experience, both in Australia and New Zealand. Since graduating in 2013 from Auckland University of Technology, in New Zealand, Dominic has worked in several disciplines, including elite sports physiotherapy, musculoskeletal physiotherapy as well as his current field of interest; treating headache and migraine disorders.
Dominic is an accomplished clinician who brings broad clinical experience and leadership to The Gold Coast Headache and Migraine Clinic. His experience began in sports physiotherapy for several national and Olympic level teams; this allowed him to learn from expert physiotherapists with both Olympic and professional sports backgrounds. In this field, Dominic travelled both domestically and internationally with sports teams as their lead physiotherapist.
Since then, Dominic has worked in private clinics in Melbourne, where he further developed his clinical assessment and treatment skills. He also completed post-graduate physiotherapy courses in Dry Needling, Clinical Pilates, Shoulder Injury and Lower Back Pain in this time.
Over this time, Dominic developed an interest in headaches and migraines, some of the most common, yet difficult conditions to manage. This inquiry brought Dominic to seek qualification as a Level 2 Watson Headache clinician and become one of the most proficient headache clinician available in the world.
Dominic believes that the key to understanding your headache or migraine, is a holistic approach that involves a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s body, as well as the lifestyle factors that may be involved. This ensures that he is able to help get you back to the things that are most important to you in life.
The wide range of experiences that Dominic has had throughout his training and career, as well as his commitment to learning and teaching, ensures that every headache and migraine treatment session is performed to the highest level.
- Bachelor of Health Sciences (Physiotherapy)
- Dry Needling for Sports Injuries
- DMA Clinical Pilates trained
- Watson Headache® Practitioner
- Level I Watson Headache® Foundation Course
- Level II Watson Headache® Consolidation Course
Fun Facts about Dominic
Dominic has played sport his whole life, in particular swimming and hockey. He currently still plays hockey regularly and is continually working on his form on the golf course. When he isn’t at work, Dominic enjoys good food and drink and spending time with friends and family.
Common Headaches Treated
What are Cluster Headaches?
Cluster Headaches are a rare type of headaches that affect around 0.1% of the population, according to the International Headache Society. While they are rare, it does affect males 3-4 times more frequently than females .
Despite being uncommon, Cluster Headaches are regarded as being the most severe and debilitating type of headache. Research has shown Cluster Headaches frequently described as having the highest pain levels , out of all 300 different types of headache and migraine. Cluster Headache attacks occur in cycles, and will often wake sufferers during the night, or at regular times during the day. Attacks generally last between 15-180 minutes, and can happen multiple times per day, or once every couple of days [1, 2]. People who suffer from Cluster Headaches generally experience periods of attacks, or “cluster periods” that can last weeks or months. These periods are then followed by periods of remission lasting weeks, months or even years. The pain is often severe, on one-side of the head, and generally around the eye and/or temple region. Cluster Headaches have adopted the nickname, ‘suicide headaches’ due to their severe and debilitating nature .
What are the signs and symptoms?
Cluster Headaches are often severe enough that a sufferer cannot keep still during an attack. They may pace back and forth, have to take a shower, or even resort to banging their head in an attempt to reduce the pan.
Symptoms commonly associated with Cluster Headaches include :
- Severe pain around one eye, that can radiate further around the face or neck
- Restlessness, shortness of breath and/or a sweaty face
- Watery/teary eyes or eye redness
- Swollen or droopy eyelids
- Runny or congested nose
- Pale or flushed skin
- Pain is unilateral, or affects only one side
What are the different types of Cluster Headache?
There are 2 types of cluster headache.
Episodic Cluster Headache
Cluster Headaches most commonly occur episodically. This is when sufferers experience bouts of “cluster periods” that can last for weeks or months, followed by an extended period in remission that can last up to years. They can occur seasonally or at set times each year. Episodic Cluster Headaches account for up to 80% of all Cluster Headaches [1, 2].
Chronic Cluster Headache
When Cluster Headaches occur without a prolonged period of remission, they are termed a Chronic Cluster headache. Sufferers often have “cluster periods” that will last over a year. While they may have days without attacks, the remissions will not last longer than a month.
What are the risk factors?
- Men are 5-6 times more likely to experience cluster headaches
- Sufferers are generally heavy smokers
- Higher alcohol consumption may be a factor
- Cluster Headaches most commonly affect people aged 20-50, but can occur at any age
- People with family members who are sufferers may be at a higher risk
What causes Cluster Headaches?
Historically, it was believed that cluster headaches, as well as migraines, were caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the head, causing pain. This was thought because medications, like triptans, are effective at relieving the pain if taking early enough in an attack. It was believed that triptans prevent this vessel dilation. However, recent research has shown that Cluster Headache and migraine sufferers do not experience blood vessel dilation at any different levels to people who do not suffer. So, how do these medications work?
Modern research has shown that Cluster Headaches and migraines arise from increased sensitivity in the central nervous system , more specifically, a sensitised brainstem which is located in the upper cervical spine (the upper neck). Faults in the upper neck can lead to this sensitised brainstem, which then can refer severe pain and associated symptoms into the head and face . Triptan medication has also more recently been shown to de-sensitise the brainstem , as well as its original purpose of constricting blood vessels in the head. This would explain why they work, as well as identifying a sensitised brainstem and the cervical spine as a cause of cluster headaches.
I've tried it all, is there anything that can help me?
While Cluster Headaches are very uncommon, they are still experienced in the Gold Coast region. The severity of symptoms causes sufferers to try a range of therapies in an attempt to resolve them, with mixed results. Often, they have tried; medications, injection therapy, or even surgical interventions such as, nerve blocks or blood vessel cauterisation.
At The Headache and Migraine Clinic, we aim to use the most modern research to find the root cause of your cluster headaches. If we can determine that a sensitised brainstem is the cause of your headaches, then we can use world-leading treatment techniques to address the faults in your neck and de-sensitise the brainstem. We have seen plenty of Cluster Headache sufferers at our clinics, and have an 85-90% success rate with our treatment technique. The best part is that it is safe, non-invasive and medication-free.