Endless headaches - looking for an osteopath in Brooklyn/NY area
March 10, 2021 3:54 AM   Subscribe

I have a friend in the Brooklyn area who has been suffering with a constant headache for about 6 months. She has been to a number of specialists, currently a neurologist who is prescribing heavy duty drugs with heavy duty side effects and no change in the headache department. This is obviously taking it's toll on her. I have had good results from osteopathy, including cranio-sacral methods. I would like to recommend an osteopath to her, but my osteopath (in the UK) doesn't know of anyone within a couple of hours travel from Brooklyn that he can recommend.

My osteopath is good with soft tissue and fascia, as well as tendon and bone manipulation. He is slow to manipulate, and performs effective treatment that usually requires no repeat visit, or for severe cases monthly visits. He offers exercises as well as advice on how to strengthen the body and avoid future problems.

That is the kind of thing I am hoping to find. It seems that the 'complimentary' medicine market in the US is even more prone to charlatans than it is in the UK, so any advice or experience with osteopathy in the Brooklyn area is welcome.
posted by asok to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
1. Has your friend been to see specifically a neurologist who specializes in headaches? I’ve had better experience for migraine treatment doing that vs seeing a more “general” neurologist.
2. If your friend feels that the muscles/tendons in neck etc are part of the problem, they can request a referral to a physical therapist. Again, it would be best to find one who specializes in headache treatment.

I’ve also heard of people seeing chiropractors for this sort of thing, but I think there’s a wide variety in effectiveness there and I would be more comfortable, personally, going to physical therapy.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 4:31 AM on March 10, 2021

Did the neurologist do any imaging ? I know that's probably annoying bc it doesn't answer the question.. Just curious if she's had an mri..
posted by elgee at 6:10 AM on March 10, 2021

Response by poster: She had an MRI which showed that she was having migraines with aura. Her neurologist is a headache specialist.

Chiropractic and osteopathy are different disciplines.

In my experience, when I went to a chiropractor the cost was the same for 15 minutes as it is for 30 minutes with the osteopath. The chiropractor would schedule in weekly appointments, which were needed because chiro adjustments never lasted for me. The osteopath would schedule in monthly appointments if needed. YMMV
posted by asok at 6:37 AM on March 10, 2021

Mod note: Folks the question is seeking recommendations for an osteopath in NYC area, please stick to that. Thanks.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:40 AM on March 10, 2021 [4 favorites]

Osteopathy in America is weird for historical reasons. The therapy you received would usually be specified as “osteopathic manual therapy” but in the States may be performed by someone with a different title than you expect.
posted by sixswitch at 8:20 AM on March 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Seem to recall that osteopaths later upgraded their curriculum to be same as MD, so they are treated as MD. Chiropractors never did.

With that said, I have read that acupuncture helps with pain management in some cases. If nothing else is helping, I'd see a TCM specialist for a consult.
posted by kschang at 9:43 AM on March 10, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: A friend who recently left Brooklyn was a massage therapist who did some cranio-sacral work, and she gave me a name for someone still there - will MeMail you details.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:11 AM on March 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Interesting to hear about the history of osteopathy in the US, sixsmith. It looks like I am seeking someone who can perform osteopathic manual therapy, rather than an osteopath.
posted by asok at 10:31 AM on March 10, 2021

Response by poster: kschang, she has been for acupuncture, this offers short term release from the headaches, but is not a long term fix for her.
What I was hoping for was someone who can treat the body holistically, look at the bone structure, soft tissues and fascia to see if there's tension pulling the skull or jaw muscles. She has been to a dentist who says she may be clenching her jaw when asleep, but is not grinding her teeth.
posted by asok at 10:46 AM on March 10, 2021

I live in Park Slope, and this guy has an office on 6th Ave near Union. I've never been to him, so I have nothing firsthand to report, but I walk by his office all the time. Seems like people like him.
posted by swheatie at 11:33 AM on March 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

I didn’t do a good job explaining about the osteopath role so glad others have done better. I jumped at your mention of the cranio-sacral methods and how I got to those by working through a neurologist that specialized in headaches who sent me to a physical therapist who did the same, and it was the pt that did the work. Hope this all ends up being helpful and your friend gets some relief!
posted by Tandem Affinity at 3:58 PM on March 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

No tips on doctors but would like to pass on info I learned recently. Don't take aspirin. I used to chew aspirin at the onset of migraine aura because I heard somewhere it was good to do to head it off and make it less severe plus I just liked to be all Jack Torrence about it. Since I was going to have the damn headache anyway and be unable to function for a couple of hours, I might as well cosplay a loony Jack Nicholson character to entertain myself. I never noticed that it particularly worked, but I still kept trying it.

Well, so the penultimate time I got one of these I went into the bathroom for my usual couple of aspirin and happened to see the BC powder box and realized that was even more metal. So I took one of those instead. I dumped the whole horrible little sachet under my tongue and kept it there a while before swallowing it. The mere memory makes me want to hurl right here and now. Nightmare. The aura went away as usual, the headache started as usual, but then it got precipitously much worse--reminded me of the ones I used to get when I was a child and would lie on the floor in intolerable pain moaning and barfing and unable to speak for eight hours minimum every time. Worse, almost as soon as the first aura faded, another one began. I counted no less than three scotomas, which let me tell you is depressing. Headache longer, headache worse, blind for longer, nauseated, the whole hellish opera. The next migraine I'd learned my lesson and I took nothing at all and it was more like the grownup person migraines I'm used to. A couple of hours of real unpleasantness, then steady improvement. I took about a fifteen minute nap and went to bed a little bit early that night and that was that.

No aspirin.
posted by Don Pepino at 4:24 PM on March 10, 2021

One more angle to consider.

There is a subset of TCM called Tui-Na which is basically Chinese version of soft tissue manipulation for therapeutic values. Most people in the West who are exposed to TCM are only exposed to acupuncture and herbal medicine. NYC with one of the largest Chinatowns around should have at least a few of those, or can refer you to some. Not sure if they'll help though. And may need a translator.

This is distinct from Dit Da, which is like Chinese version of sports medicine, dealing with sprains, bruises, and fractures. More of hard injuries.
posted by kschang at 10:15 PM on March 10, 2021

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