Migraines & Headaches

Migraines- A Neurological Condition

Migraines are a complex disorder that physicians and researchers are now finding the root cause to be primarily neurological. There are many factors that influence neurological function and could be contributing to these debilitating symptoms.

How long have you or a loved one been suffering?

If you have been suffering from migraine headaches with minimal response to treatment it is likely that the root cause of your pain and suffering is due to poor or improper neurological function. We hear commonly that migraines are a vascular issue, or that they are related to something you are eating or potentially poor posture and biomechanics. While these issues are factors that may contribute to your pain, the nerves that innervate those blood vessels or the parts of the brain responsible for proper biomechanics may be at the root cause of the issue and if unaddressed could leave you with debilitating pain for months or years.
Functional Neurology is a practice that allows us to comprehensively evaluate and treat complex neurological deficits. When evaluating migraines and headaches there are a few areas of the brain that are commonly responsible for the dysfunction that is causing the symptoms.

Autonomic Nervous System

The Autonomic nervous system (ANS) is the system that controls all the processes that we don’t have to consciously think about performing like our heart rate, blood pressure and digestion, to name a few. When evaluating the ANS, as a Functional Neurologist, we look to make sure the processes are equal on both the left and the right side of the body. We also evaluate to make sure that the ANS is performing appropriately against gravity, so that, when you change positions the blood flow is fluctuating to provide your brain and/or your guts with enough oxygen to handle the gravitational difference. Many people experience symptoms, or symptoms are triggered by these changes in position. The ANS also controls aspects of pupilloconstriction and dilation and allows you to properly focus on objects both near and far. This is important for people whose symptoms are triggered by their visual world. For example, when driving at night, reading, using the computer or watching TV.

Brainstem

When dysfunction is noted in this area I find it common for people to not respond as favorably as they would like, to biomechanical treatment. This is because the issue is only being addressed from one end of the spectrum and relief will be temporary or not at all. The brainstem is broken up into 3 different parts and when evaluating neurological issues, it is important to understand which area or junction of the brainstem might be a contributing factor. With migraine headaches, it is common to find aberrancies in both the pons (middle area of the brainstem) and the mesencephalon (the top area). These areas house the nuclei that are responsible for most of your eye movements. When we talk about eye movements and how it relates to your head pain we look to assess cervico-ocular reflexes, gaze holding mechanism and vestibulo-ocular reflexes to name a few. Commonly, it is found that the neck pain and base of the skull pain associated with many migraines is a biomechanical issue that is not resolved through typical therapy because of the concomitant dysfunction in the cervical ocular reflex. When we, as Functional Neurologists, address this issue from both ends of the spectrum they are easily resolved!

Vestibular system/ Cerebellum

Your vestibular system and cerebellum are known, most commonly, for controlling your balance and coordination. These areas of the brain are also very important for proper postural mechanisms and muscle tone. These areas can contribute to your migraines, head pain and neck pain by providing improper signaling to and from intrinsic spinal musculature, poor proprioceptive input and postural imbalance such as head tilts or rotations. These areas are also linked to ocular motility and can further cause imbalance in other systems.

At CFNC, we treat every aspect of your condition and look at the body as a whole. Other important contributing factors are metabolic dysfunction and nutrition. It is important for proper brain function to fuel yourself appropriately, have proper hormone balance, blood sugar regulation and metabolism.


As you can see there are many different areas in the brain and the body that can contribute to your unresolved migraines leaving you frustrated and not living to your full potential. We strive to unlock your full potential through neuroplasticity allowing your brain and your body to work synergistically and for you to achieve a symptom free life!

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Patient Testimonials

Don’t take our word for it – here’s what our patients say:

Since I’ve been coming to see Dr. Brindisi, within a month I had my first 5 days in a row without pain. In just four months I have had more days without pain, numbness or being uncomfortable in my head and neck than I have had in the last seven years.

Lisa W.

I cannot describe the feeling of being able to wake up on a daily basis without pain, for the first time in 32 years, my wish won’t be to not have a migraine on my birthday!

Julie B

Historically I have been a harsh critic of medical care outside of a DO/MD but Dr. Brindisi has completely changed my perspective. Unlike me PCP, she took time to patiently listen and understand my symptoms and get me through the scariest experience of my life.

Julie E.