San Francisco Doctor Offers New Hope for Migraines


More than 38 million American men, women, and children suffer from migraines—and more than half of those never even seek treatment or get properly diagnosed. Since the cause of migraines still isn't completely understood, solutions can be elusive, but relief is possible through a combined approach that includes physical, sensory and visual therapies, as well as nutrition and natural medicine.

What Is a Migraine?

Migraines are a primary brain disorder involving a malfunction of the sensory processing centers in the brain that trigger the release of pain-producing inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels in the head. The neurons in the brain that process sensory input such as light, sound, visual tracking and equilibrium are hypersensitive in migraine sufferers who become easily fatigued with sensory stimuli. When this occurs, neurons begin to fire erratically and trigger a cascade of physiological events that result in a migraine headache. Triggers can also involve inflammatory reactions to food, hormonal changes and chemical sensitivities, all of which must be differentiated from secondary causes. Migraines are often thought to be a lifelong condition, however recent advances in neurological rehabilitation and natural medicine offer new hope for migraine sufferers.

What Causes Migraines?

The cause of a migraine is not completely understood since there is not one single cause but rather a combination of factors that are unique to each individual. These might include:

1. Primary sensory processing disorders

2. Physiological imbalance of the immune system that triggers an inflammatory cascade

3. A combination of the above

4. An undiagnosed, secondary migraine from an underlying infection or health condition

How Do I Determine My Triggers?

With the use of diagnostic testing we can objectively evaluate how your brain processes sensory information through your visual system, equilibrium centers, and the musculoskeletal system. We also perform laboratory tests that screen each person for physiological imbalances involving inflammatory triggers, hormones, viruses, bacteria, yeast and digestive issues to provide us with an overall picture of your health. These labs help us to identify what your specific needs are for effective treatment.

What's the Treatment Plan?

Once a sensory processing disorder has been identified, we are able to customize a combination of rehabilitation strategies that can selectively target, strengthen and restore function, thereby relieving the sensory triggers of your migraines. These treatments incorporate a combination of physical, sensory and visual therapy to address the person's weak spots. The therapies are coupled with neuromodulation, which utilizes electric nerve stimulation (to enhance the sensory feedback and recruitment of the neural pathways contributing to the sensory processing disorder) while the patient performs specific balance and coordination exercises, hand-eye coordination tasks and visual therapy.

For individuals with primary physiological imbalances, we provide personalized nutritional and natural medicine recommendations to remove inflammatory triggers, heal the digestive system and restore hormonal imbalances. These protocols are evidence-based and specifically formulated based on your history, exam and laboratory results. We are able to address all aspects of a person's health and support the body's ability to heal from within.

Our multi-disciplinary and integrative medicine practice is dedicated to brain health. As a result, we are able to offer a full spectrum of services and care, achieving better outcomes at a much faster pace. Call Rachman Chung, DC, DACNB, FACFN for a free consultation. // Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness, 1545 Broadway, Ste 1A (Russian Hill), 415-563-3800,

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