Posted: Friday, February 3, 2017 – 2:35 PM
“There’s literally no pain I can’t manage,” says Dr. Benjamin Taimoorazy. And he brings an approach to pain management few others can offer.
He is helping patients suffering from chronic intractable headaches and other chronic painful disorders at his new Beverly Hills Migraine & Pain Management Institute. This is the only dedicated headache center in the state of California staffed by a triple board certified pain management anesthesiologist with subspecialty certification in the field of headache medicine. In fact he is one of only seven physicians in North America with this esteemed designation. The United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties (UCNS) is the organization certifying headache subspecialists.
“My background and knowledge have provided me with capability to objectively evaluate any headache patient and not only make the proper diagnosis—and diagnosis is half the battle—but provide any treatment available in the world in one place and under one roof.”
For example, says Taimoorazy, cluster headaches are the result of a dysfunction in the trigeminal system in the brain. “Targeting a nerve center behind the nose with a Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block we can numb, stimulate or deactivate the nerve center and control the headaches.
“The future of headache medicine has evolved into more and more interventions that reduce the need for daily medications that have inherent side effect and often don’t work,” says Taimoorazy. Many of his patients are referred by neurologists when medications have failed, and the patient has run out of options.
He’s now performing these minimally invasive interventions “that are life changing,” he says, at his new Roxbury Drive institute.
Dr. Taimoorazy has been managing headaches and pain for almost 20 years. “With all the recent advances in pain and headache medicine, we know exactly where the discomfort comes from and we can go after pain generators and turn them off on a long-term basis or destroy them.”
The “light-bulb” moment for Taimoorazy was 15 years ago when a patient was referred to his clinic with an “unresponsive headache. “At that time having failed all treatments offered by other physicians, the best interventional option was Occipital nerve stimulation. It was a miracle for her and made me realize that interventional approach is the way of the future for intractable pain disorders.”
Taimoorazy recently presented results of a landmark study (and first of its kind) of patients referred by neurologists for unresponsive, intractable migraine headaches, to the Spine Intervention Society (SIS) and the international headache congress (IHC).
Of the patients evaluated, Taimoorazy determined that 55 percent were misdiagnosed. They actually had Cervicogenic headaches, which start with irritation of small joints in the upper part of the neck. “The symptoms are similar to migraines.”
The intervention offered by Dr. Taimoorazy to treat these patients is Radio-frequency ablation. Using a needle under X-Ray guidance “we can target nerve structure, alter its function and interrupt transmission of pain. So we can control headaches for a long time, after only a 10- to 15-minute procedure.
Dr. Taimoorazy has also found that athletes, like soccer players hitting the ball with their heads, and football players with whiplash injuries to the neck, have a lot of micro-trauma to the cervical spine. Their headaches show the same signs and symptoms of a migraine “and if one is not aware of other conditions that can mimic migraine, these people can be misdiagnosed,” Taimoorazy says. “These are often Cervicogenic headaches as well.”
One of the newer approaches in treating migraines is intravenous headache infusion therapy. As an anesthesiologist and headache subspecialist, his migraine institute is one of only a handful of centers that can administers sub-anesthetic concentration of propofol. The infusion takes about 90 minutes. “The patient is relaxed, but not sedated; and we monitor the patient per American Society of Anesthesiologists standards,” says Taimoorazy.
“Propofol is a strong blocker of NMDA receptors that pain transmitters act on. And it augments people’s own pain relieving neurotransmitters, such as endorphins.
Taimoorazy recommends that headaches lasting more than few days in people over 50 be evaluated by a headache subspecialist. “It could be a sign of something more serious like a tumor or aneurysm or even glaucoma, which can lead to blindness or other significant morbidities.”
Besides headaches—and Taimoorazy points out there are 300 kinds—he also treats other pain conditions including: low back and neck pain, spinal stenosis, fibromyaligina, work-related injuries, cancer pain, arthritis especially knee pain and chronic pelvic pain.
As a clinical instructor at the University of Illinois, Taimoorazy enjoys being at the forefront of research and teaching students and fellow physicians.
“Knowing the anatomy and physiology of the pain generator, we can objectively determine where it’s coming from and go after it effectively using minor, minimally invasive outpatient procedures,” Taimoorazy says. The American Headache Society strongly recommends timely referral of headache sufferers to dedicated headache centers.
The Beverly Hills Migraine and Pain Management Institute is at 436 N. Roxbury Dr., Suite 115. For more information, call 424-302-0289 or visit www.bhmigraineandpain.com