New Headache Center Debuts in San Diego

By HCO Staff

Headaches are one of the most common disorders of the body’s nervous system, with 60 million Americans living with chronic migraine and headache, according to the American Academy of Neurology. For many, this disorder causes lifelong disability.

Expanding upon care provided for San Diegans living with headache disorders, UC San Diego Health recently opened a new, multidisciplinary center that will provide specialized care for such disorders, plus migraine and long-term side effects of traumatic brain injuries.

Each clinic room is equipped with green light, which has been shown to decrease symptoms of headache, sensitivity to light and anxiety.

The new Headache Center at UC San Diego Health is located in Sorrento Valley at 4910 Directors Place, Suite 250, San Diego, CA 92121.

“Ten percent of primary care visits are focused on headache and migraine, and many of these individuals require specialized care in order to improve their symptoms,” said Nina Riggins, MD, PhD, neurologist and headache specialist at UC San Diego Health, and director of the new center. “In partnership with primary care, women’s health, interventional radiology, neurosurgery, spine and pain specialists, and others, we will treat individuals who are dealing with serious, debilitating headache disease, with a targeted therapeutic approach.”

Patients will have access to both inpatient and outpatient treatment options, neuromodulation devices, nerve blocks, trigger point injections, Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks, Botox, otoneurology, infusion, integrative medicine such as acupuncture, and other interventions.

“At this center, patients will have access to an integrated and coordinated breadth of care across specialties that would otherwise have to be separately navigated,” said James Brewer, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine and neurologist at UC San Diego Health. “This center will apply UC San Diego innovations to the care of patients with headache, and will train the next generation of practitioners in this new model of cross-specialty care.”

An interdisciplinary team of clinicians, surgeons, nurses, nurse practitioners and other specialists will be available for each patient. Each clinic room is equipped with green light, which has been shown to decrease symptoms of headache, sensitivity to light and anxiety.

“From the lighting to the music choices, the center has been thoughtfully and meticulously designed to bring a range of treatment options and services to our patients facing headache disorders,” said Christopher Kane, MD, CEO, UC San Diego Health Physician Group. “Our health system continues to expand services and locations throughout San Diego County so our patients have convenient access to our extraordinary teams for their health care needs for the years to come.”

Nina Riggins, MD, PhD, neurologist and headache specialists, is the director of the new center.

The Headache Center at UC San Diego Health is also the place of designation for research and education on headache and traumatic brain injury. Current clinical trials include studies of new medications, including calcitonin gene-related peptide blockers.

“We understand how challenging it can be to live with debilitating headache, and I’m so proud that we can provide our patients and community with leading-edge care and treatment of headache disorders at UC San Diego Health,” said Riggins. “This center is possible through the collaboration with our primary care providers and through this multidisciplinary approach we will achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients.”

UC San Diego Health is comprised of UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and Jacobs Medical Center, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Institute, Moores Cancer Center, Shiley Eye Institute, and the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute, all in La Jolla, as well as primary care and same-day services at clinics throughout Southern California. UC San Diego Health Medical Center is home to the area’s only Regional Burn Center and one of only two Level I trauma centers in the county.