Improving Knowledge of Red Flags for Headaches – Research Profile

Improving Knowledge of Red Flags for Headaches – Research Profile

Fiona Lucas is a Physiotherapist and a Lecturer in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy and Placement Coordinator at AECC University College.

She tells us more about her experience and shares her research interest in headaches with us. She also shares what she loves about teaching at AECC University College:

Making a Difference

“I have worked as a Physiotherapist for over 20 years, working in both the NHS and Private Practice. My areas of interest are in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy and headaches.

“My engagement in headaches evolved when I realised I could make a difference, treating patients with neck pain and headache symptoms. I completed further training and some headache modules on the Clinical Pain Management MSc at Edinburgh University.

Focus on Headaches

“As I developed my knowledge and skill in headaches, I started working in collaboration with a Neurologist locally, who has a special interest in headaches.

“Whilst working within the NHS, I carried out a service evaluation around headaches. The study looked at the knowledge of red flags for headaches and signs and symptoms for cervicogenic headaches, within a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy team, during training.

“After training, an evaluation of evidence-based treatments and patient outcomes was carried out for 10 patients.

Research Findings

“The research we did found that whilst red flags in back and neck patients are widely understood within Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, headache red flags are less known and utilised.

“The study highlighted the need for improving this knowledge within primary care Physiotherapy. The study also explored evidence-based practice and guidelines supporting the treatment of headaches for Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists.

“The study was accepted as a poster presentation at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) conference. The study was then featured in the CSP’s Innovations for Quality Assured Physiotherapy Initiatives resource and in the CSP’s publication, Frontline.

“After the Frontline feature, I was contacted by Kings College London to deliver a training session to Advanced Physiotherapy students. During the session, the students learned about headache assessments, treatments, and red flags.

Proud to be AECC

“AECC University College is a small campus, with a vibrant and friendly atmosphere. It is an exciting hub of innovation, research and excellence, which I am proud to be part of.  

“There is a strong emphasis on patient-centred care and mental wellbeing. I feel privileged to be part of a student’s journey, as they develop as a valuable health professional of the future, keeping the patient’s narrative at the heart of all care.”