What Sets Our SF Headache & Migraine Treatment Apart
Doctors Irène & Robert Minkowsky are San Francisco-based headache and migraine care treatment doctors and are experts in the field. Their success results from a comprehensive approach and an emphasis on the nonpharmacologic treatment for migraine headaches. Emphasis is placed on relieving the symptoms and restoring the balance and equilibrium that is lost with any chronic musculoskeletal condition or symptoms.
Chronic headache, whether tension (which accounts for 80% of headaches), migraine, cluster or other, afflicts many individuals of all ages and backgrounds and can include symptoms which may interfere with focus and the ability to function. Although symptoms are localized to the head, factors outside of the skull and brain are often responsible for headaches or are major contributors to intractability and frequency.
Unfortunately, traditional allopathic medicine usually uses only a band-aid approach to headache, consisting solely of prescribing a wide variety of drug combinations to control pain. If you don’t have a brain tumor, stroke or infection, doctors usually have no understanding of the multiple issues that are responsible for chronic headaches.
The Osteopathic Approach to Treatment of Symptoms
The osteopathic approach to a migraine headache is to address the symptoms in the context of the entire body. In particular, there are important muscular connections between the neck, shoulder and mid back that tie into the skull and contribute majorly to headaches.
Fascia, a membrane-like structure, connects the chest with the head. The dura, a membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord extends all the way from the skull to the low back and sacrum.
A fall on the sacrum can trigger a serious headache. Thinking of all of these connections as well as a careful examination of these areas can be very helpful in the evaluation and treatment of migraine headache.
The Tectonic Plates of the Skull
The skull and face are composed of 22 bones. The bones articulate together at sutures which resemble the fault lines in the earth’s crust separating tectonic plates. They are very convoluted and intricate, similar to a jigsaw puzzle. Osteopaths, unlike traditional physicians, believe that there is a small amount of movement in the sutures.
As San Francisco migraine and headache doctors, the Minkowskys utilize this concept in their treatment protocol for migraines. The craniosacral rhythm which is an alternating expanding and contractile movement in the nervous system depends on movement in the sutures. With training, this rhythm can be felt on the skull as well as elsewhere on the body.
If the movement becomes restricted or asymmetric, tensions build up and pressures increase in the cranium. This process is similar to pressure build-up in the earth’s crust along fault lines before an earthquake. The diameter of blood vessels changes, affecting blood flow and oxygenation of the surrounding tissues, chemicals are released and headache and pain result. A vicious cycle starts.
Clinically, this manifests as chronic migraine headaches or facial pain. Vertigo and tinnitus are also symptoms often seen. Head trauma, even many years earlier, is often responsible for this persistent locking of sutures. Osteopaths perform craniosacral manipulation which is a very gentle manipulative technique to restore movement at the bone sutures, relieve the tension and help restore better cranial balance.
Headache of Cervical Origin
Neck issues with increased tension in the cervical region often cause pain symptoms radiating to the head. There are important nerve connections between the upper cervical spine and skull. Chronic postural stresses resulting from long hours spent in front of a computer monitor or looking down at a laptop or cell phone are frequently responsible for this increased tension.
Other Causes of Headache
Other causes of chronic daily headaches may include
- Inflammation or other problems with the blood vessels in and around the brain, including stroke.
- Infections (meningitis).
- Intracranial pressure that’s either too high (brain tumor) or too low.
- Traumatic brain injury.
- Rebound headache; this occurs if you are taking pain medications, even over-the-counter, more than two days a week (or nine days a month).
General Treatment for Migraine Headache
- Maintain steady estrogen levels
- Get enough sleep
- Reduce stress (yoga, tai-chi, meditation)
- Reduce caffeine, cheese and alcohol
As San Francisco headache and migraine specialists, Doctors Irène and Robert Minkowsky work to thoroughly examine individuals with chronic headache, evaluating the myriad number of connections that link the skull and brain to other areas of the body as well as direct treatment of the skull and craniosacral rhythm.
This approach provides a comprehensive new treatment approach for migraine, often eliminating the symptoms and the need for medication or therapy dependence.
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Physicians' Back Institute SF
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Don’t let chronic pain and musculoskeletal injuries affect your quality of life. Drs. Irène and Robert Minkowsky have helped thousands of patients. Let the doctors at the Physicians’ Back Institute treat you so you can enjoy an active lifestyle. They are proud to serve the San Francisco Bay Area.
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2000 Van Ness Ave, #305
San Francisco, CA 94109
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