Doctors, Treatment

Seattle Doctors, Neurologists & Headache Specialists

I’ve been asked about Seattle headache specialists and neurologists more times than I can count in the last month. My experience is quite limited, but the online support group and forum has a thread with recommendations for Seattle headache doctors. If you have any to add, please do! You can also check What Do You Think of Your Doctor, an earlier post with lots of good suggestions, some in Seattle, some elsewhere.

Here’s what I know:

I’ve seen Sylvia Lucas at UW and Sheena Aurora at Swedish. They are both kind and caring. We all click with different people, of course, but I found Dr. Lucas to be more patient-oriented and Dr. Aurora to be more research-oriented. Both have at least three-month long waiting lists. It took six months to get into my first appointment with Dr. Lucas and follow-ups are usually scheduled two months out. Dr. Aurora is more like three months for an initial appointment.

A friend sees Patrick Hogan, an osteopathic neurologist, in Tacoma. His number is (253) 284-4488. He requires a doctor’s referral regardless of your insurance and your family/general physician will have to contact his office to get you in.

For other doctors in the Seattle area — or anywhere else in the US, check the National Headache Foundation’s physician finder or the American Headache Society’s health care provider search.

8/14/14: Many readers have lamented Dr. Elena Robinson‘s move to Vancouver. She’s back in Seattle and is in practice with the University of Washington.

71 thoughts on “Seattle Doctors, Neurologists & Headache Specialists”

  1. I have seizures but am on medication and haven’t had one in 3 years and also get bad headaches daily. I’m looking for a neurologist in the DT Seattle area who specialize in epilepsy and botox for migraines. Does anyone know of any? My doctor referred me Dr Admir at Virgina Mason but I don’t think he has the experience in headaches. There’s also other doctors there but they don’t specialize in both it’s either one or the other.

    1. Hi Heather, I’m sorry, I don’t know of anyone in Seattle who specializes in both. I haven’t lived there in nine years, though, so I’m not most current on the providers there.

      Take care,

  2. Dr. Dongmei Liu is a wonderful headache specialist at Swedish Cherry Hill. 206-320-3494. She takes extra time with each of her patients. She can run behind because of this but she is very helpful.

  3. Sarah Payne, thanks so much for letting me know and checking around for someone.

    My husband went to Dr. Wendt again last week. He did the Botox plus a nerve block and his pain went from a 5 to a 4 for 2 days and then went back up to a 5. He has also continued to get the spikes up to a 9 sometimes.

    Do all of the neurologists ONLY have botox and nerve blocks?

  4. I had a TERRIBLE experience with Dr Piker! I would never refer someone to him! I will look around and see if I can come up with some names OK.

  5. Just checking to see if any new Headache Neurologists are practicing in the Seattle or Tacoma area. My husband suffers terrible migraines that never go away. He has been seeing Dr. Wendt for 2 years with no real relief. About 2 months ago, he told him that in the next appointment in 3 months, he would try to get to the root of the problem. Are you kidding me? After almost 2 years of tritopane drugs, botox injections of up to 5 vials, occipital blocks and none of them really help for more than a few days. My husband has a job that requires random drug tests, so he cannot take any of the drugs that will show up in the tests.
    Has anyone tried Dr. Mark Piker?

  6. Does anyone know of a doctor who would support a disability claim? I’ve suffered from debilitating migraines for 30 years, but managed to work, albeit missing a lot of work and some years. I know, at 57 years old, had to quit working due to chronic migraines and some other issues. I treated with Sylvia Lucas for 15 years, and although I would be in bed for 6 days at a time unable to get up and care for myself and missing work, she refused to write a letter saying I was unable to hold down a full time job.

    I would like to find a doctor in the Everett area, as I live on Whidbey Island.

    1. Joye,
      I think you should go see J. Michael Jones at Cascade Neurology in Mount Vernon. He has been running the Pacific Rim Headache Center in Anacortes and helped me break out of chronic migraines. I too have suffered migraines for most of my life. I have seen docs in Seattle including S. Lucas and Mary Reif among others. Last year I went to the Pacific Rim Headache Center and saw Dr. Jones and he was so helpful. Unfortunately the clinic closed this January and if you go to their website you will read why and see that Jones moved to Cascade. Give it a try.

        1. Just a suggestion, I talked to a lawyer who said all you have to do is prove to Social Security Disability that you have to take medications to get up in the morning, and show proof of missed work, (possible letter from employer). Keep logs of your daily headaches with 1-10 severity, and all the medications you use. Proof of disabling behavior. Maybe talk to a lawyer.
          We too are looking for a new specialist. For some excellent information, read about The New York Headache Center, Dr. Mauskop, this guy knows migraines. I called him for a referal in the Seattle area, and all he could tell me is the Lady he trained just retired so try UW. Good Luck

  7. I have seen Dr. Murinova and she is great! I suffer from cervicogenic headaches and she is wonderful. Yes, she moves fast, but my initial appointment was moved to a Saturday so she could see patients sooner. She is booked up for a reason. You have to listen to her message. Lifestyle, and what you are willing to do to help yourself. I also see Dr. Weiss at UW. He is a wonderful neurologist. I trust this pair and my life is better for it. Dr. Nago at Polyclinic is good but, I was not impressed with Dr.Yang. Dr. Nago referred me to a Dr. Weiss.

  8. I just wanted to let everyone know that there is a certified headache specialist in Federal Way name Dr. John Wendt. Im going to be seeing him soon to see if he has a better plan for my ndph and occipital neuralgia. I believe its a private office, I know for sure its not a part of the Virginia Mason Clinic. So anyone a little further south that might be an option for you too.

  9. By reading many of the previous posts I see we all have our own successes and failures with the various neurologists around. I have been seeing Dr. Murinova for the past 5 months and she has been an absolute miracle worker for me. I have had chronic migraines for the past 8 1/2 years. I recently moved here from out of state and was having difficulties finding a neurologist for my once to semi-annual — on a scale of 1 -10, rating of 9 or even 10! kind of headache. I have another neurologist who just did not know what to do with that kind of headache. Dr. Murinova spent an hour with me on our initial visit to really get to know me. I find that rare in today’s 15 minute consulation world. All this to help diagnose you to get the best possible results. If you leave yourself open and do not self-diagnose then you are in for a world of possibilities. That does not always include medication, but it might. I am trying to wean myself off Topomax becuase it dulls my brain, so she is helping me do that & swiching me to another. It’s amazing! Plus she has directed me to the internet for some “hands-on” information that I can look up after our visit. Last time I was there, Dr. Murinova was running late, but in my favor! I hope that others can appreciate her compassion and will understanding.

  10. I was commuting from eastern Washington to the UW to see Dr. Murinova. At first she was pleasant but the meds prescribed were not very effective. I kept trying as I have had migraines for 42 years. I still had faith in her until the morning I arrived 15 minutes late due to unusually bad traffic tieups (wrecks)… coming all the way from the center of the state is not that easy during the rush hour. I was scolded like a little child and made to feel as if I were really not that important- and her “tag along” student was more important.

    My next trip over was planned for a bit later and I arrived early but Murinova was late by over 1/2 hour and was not even considerate of that fact and rushed me through the appointment with zero satisfaction on my part. When she chose to berate me in the waiting room in front of many waiting patients (because I asked about a previously prescribed medication that she suddenly decided not to refill) I felt terrible and of course that just added to the stress of the migraine I already had. Previous posts report that she is rude… yes she is AND she does not wear deodorant and that makes for an even more unpleasant visit; maybe her Eastern European background?!

    I will not ever recommend her. Her “bedside manner” is atrocious- and listening to her patient is not a particularly strong point.

  11. First of all I have to say that Dr. Aurora was turning point for me. After having experienced migraines since I was 10 and being prescribed painkillers that could take down a rhino I was still having 13 or more migraines a month. I tried a couple new things with her that didn’t work and one that I wouldn’t take due to the side effects label. Then she suggested botox and I was part of an early botox trial. That was a lifesaver. I went from having 13 a month to only a couple in 3 months. Now years later pretty much only get them if the botox has really worn off or if in a few occasional situations when all my triggers are triggered. Even then they are much more mild and treatable with maxalt or the like. Yes she was hard to get in to see, yes she suggested trials, which I signed up for in the hopes that as a guinea pig I might help someone else in the future. And yes seeing her at Swedish left something to be desired as they are a pretty bare bones hospital. But she saved me. I am no longer taking handfuls of drugs and feeling toxic all the time. I don’t see her now. I see Ib Odderson. He treats me for my migraines and my cervical dsytonia. (a later diagnosis) He too is in high demand, but again he has made my life so much better.

    1. I’m so glad you had a good experience with Dr. Aurora. Unfortunately, she’s no longer in Seattle and there’s a dearth of qualified headache specialists in the area. But it’s great that you’ve found a doctor who can treat both your migraines and cervical dystonia. I wish you the best in your treatment.

      Take care,

  12. I was really nervous about my appointment with Dr. Murinova yesterday after reading some of the comments on here about her. However I have to say she is one of the BEST headache Dr’s I have seen in years. She spent well over an hour with me AND my husband. Listened to everything we have been going through, did not discount anything we had to say, was extremely kind, professional and attentive and I am looking forward to the approach we are taking. I never once felt hurries or rushed and she explained everything she thought was going on really well. I feel we went through the process together and do not feel like she was telling me anything but that I was part of the diagnosing team. If for some reason my headaches don’t get better or it doesn’t work we have a plan B. If all else fails I have a back up appointment scheduled with Dr. Stobbee at the UW in June. My Spine and Sport Dr. had made a call personally to her as the wait was so long for Dr. Stobbe and although she doesn’t normally see MVA patients due to the billing of car insurance companies she had me in within 3 days. Very kind and compassionate Dr. and I feel lucky to have seen her!!

    Whatever you do NEVEREVER go to p.o.s. Joel Konikow at Swedish. He is a condescend jerk who should have retired years ago. When my husband and I were seeing him he actually yelled and my husband and told him to stop talking as he was not the patient and he didn’t care what he had to say. He accused me of seeking drugs although I told him over and over I did not want to be on pain killers and that is why I was there. Read the wrong patients chart notes before coming into to talk to me. Yelled at me because he kept getting confused over my MVA, etc.etc. He is so rude it is ridiculous. He wanted me to read feeling good books and did not seem to care that I was in a car accident at 60 mph and suffered a brain injury. It was the worst 3 experiences ever. Definitely do not go to him if you can avoid it, unless you want to be belittled and made to feel inferior.

  13. I have basilar migraines, which sounds like what Deb described in March 2012.
    I get loud ear ringing followed by confusion, vision disturbances and dizziness which can be severe for days. I get headaches with them sometimes, sometimes not.
    Unfortunately I have to take amitryptylline, which has unpleasant side effects, but works to a degree.
    I use ear plugs in loud places, and have also found gentle yoga (if practiced regularly), and chiropractic care effective in reducing the severity of the symptoms.
    I am hoping to try the headache clinic at the UW…Dr Lucas has been highly recommended to me, so think I will give that clinic a try. The person who recommended Dr Lucas said she saw the neurology resident, who was helpful and pleasant. Sometimes the person who is not the head honcho can be just fine.

  14. It’s so strange to see such negative comments about Dr. Natalia Murinova when I’ve had good experiences with her. When I’ve seen her she’s been attentive and is up on the latest advances. She recommends lifestyle changes as well as medication and, once I made it on her patient list, I was usually able to get an appointment with her within two to three weeks. When she was not available I saw her P.A. (who’s name I don’t remember) and she was helpful as well.

    With regard to Dr. Aurora, she was very research oriented and I felt she saw her patients more as study participants than patients.

    One thing to remember with the posts in this thread is that people are much more likely to complain when they have a bad experience than to praise when they have a good experience. This is not to say that those posts are wrong, but to indicate that they may not have the full picture.

  15. Hi everyone, I have suffered from migraines since may of last year.I was also diagnosed with MS, it has taken since then to come up with three medications that gives me around two weeks of some degree of pain relief. The only down side is that I have to be admitted into the hospital every 5 or 6 weeks to have the infusions, because over time my body has become allergic or had some sort of reaction to anything the Dr’s have tried.
    The medication I have is Kytril, Phenergan and then DHE in that order. The first two help with the nausea which the DHE causes to be much worse.
    This Friday I will be coming to the Swedish hospital for the first time to see a Dr Anna Wong have any of you been to see this Dr before, if so what if any advice if you wished you were told about this hospital or this Dr would you tell me.
    We have a 3 hr drive to get to this hospital but I am hoping it is going to be worth the trouble. These Migraines have taken over my live and I so want my life back so that I can start enjoying it again like I used to. Thanks Liz.

  16. Hi everyone, I have suffered from migraines since may of last year.I was also diagnosed with MS, it has taken since then to come up with three medications that gives me around two weeks of some degree of pain relief. The only down side is that I have to be admitted into the hospital every 5 or 6 weeks to have the infusions, because over time my body has become allergic to anything the Dr’s have tried

  17. Gosh what a God send to see all these negative post on Mulinova! My daughter (12) has an appt in a few weeks with her! Not going! We are from Moses Lake and it would have been such a waste of our time. We have been to Spokane to see Neuroligist Dr McDonald at Childrens Hospital and he was so rude and told my little girl to her face there’s nothing else they can do for her! She cried for a while. This did not faze the Dr one bit! So to go to Seattle and see another heartless shithead!? No way! Does anyone one have any other good drs that aren’t quick to give a pill and find the trigger? Thank you for the heads up!!

  18. I wanted to make you aware of the Pacific Rim Headache Center in Anacortes, Bellingham and with future plans of an office in Everett. I have worked in headache disorders for thirty years. Originally I was with the Michigan Headpain and Neurologic Institute in Ann Arbor and for six years prior to coming to Western Washington, I was with the Headache Division at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Combined with Dr. Moren’s decade in headache medicine, we bring a lot of experience, knowledge and most of all, compassion + passion for headache sufferers. It has been a dream of mine to create a compassionate and listening headache center for many years and about a year ago we were able to open our doors.

    Our schedule, as you can imagine, is under growing demand. However, we do have new patient appointments as soon as 5 weeks out (sometimes work-ins sooner).

    While I am a PA and not a neurologist, I offer the same high standard of care as I did at Mayo Clinic . Thirty years of training by some of the best minds in headache have been a great privileged for me. Now that my friend Sheena Aurora is leaving and Dr. Singer is gone, I just wanted you to know that there are other resources for headache sufferers in our region.

  19. I’m in Yakima and looking for someone. I have had migraines for 20+ years and they were fairly well controlled until about 7 months ago. Now they are daily and I can’t work (teach) anymore. Nobody to see here so I was told to look in Seattle. While they have classic triggers, and a sleep disorder trigger, the latest problem seems to be due to a MVA from many years ago causing a neck injury. So I need someone with that expertise. Dr. Kantor,D.O. and Dr. Bjorn Krane are names that were given to me. Any info on these doctors?

  20. I live in Sitka, Alaska, where I work for a tribal health facility. A Seattle-based neurologist, Dr. Jean Millican, makes about six trips a year to Sitka for about 2-3 days each, and I’ve been seeing her a couple of times a year. I believe Dr. Millican works with VA clinics in Seattle. I’ve liked working with her, but sometimes she’s so overbooked with appointments that it shortens your appointment time. Also, my headaches have been increasing lately and it’s hard to get on her schedule right away because she’s not in town that often. When I do see her, she’s been conscious about double-checking meds, preventive treatments and other info to make sure there are no interactions. She isn’t afraid to try new treatments when something isn’t working, either. I wish she were in Sitka more often for a quicker response when there are changes in my headache patterns, but I’m glad we at least get her in town a few times a year.

    1. Charles,

      I’m glad to hear you can get good treatment even if it is difficult to get on her schedule. Headache specialists are hard to get into even when they are local to the patient. Still, it must be frustrating to have shortened appointments and not have access to her when your headaches change. I wish you the best of luck in finding an effective treatment.

      Take care,

  21. Pleased to find Dr. Singer retiring. While I had some success with him, his bedside manner deteriorated in a drastic manner over the last year or so. I think he had health problems, which was effecting his decision making practice. Good reddens. Hope to find migraine specialist soon.

  22. I could really use some help for my daughter ,who has suffered these daily headaches for 5 years now.We have been to Murnova and Aurora with no help,could someone please recommend someome?

  23. After Dr. Singer retired, I went to Dr. Murinova. Having only been in Seattle for 4 months after living in St. Louis for 40 years, I had no idea there were so few qualified migraine neurologists in the area. OMG the nuts and berries approach she uses to someone who has experienced migaines and chronic daily headaches for 23 years is INSULTING!! This doctor would not even continue the treatment plan that had been in place for years. Much less try to improve upon it. Now I must start over and there are very few doctors to search from as I read here.

  24. Does anybody know what Dr. Woo Woo’s real name is? And where he is located? I would love to find out. Thanks

    I believe the link in the comment says his name is Dan Lewis, though the link no longer works.


  25. Jan. 28 & 30th, 2012, I experienced a stroke like episode which included severe dizziness, paralysis, visual issues and headaches. In two weeks the severe dizziness left but the headaches stayed until Feb. 28. Then jaw aches and feelings of teeth tightening lingered daily with tiny headaches.I am talking all day long, everyday and for the first time in my life, symptoms. I seen UWMC emergency room neurologists who referred me to their orontologist (inner ear doctor) who claims I have the disease of migraine which he knows only how to treat dizziness. I am confounded with UWMC doctors. I have no one in my family with migraines. Is this typical of migraine sufferers? Is this what migraines are like?

    1. I am very interested in how things are going for you. I have had similar symptoms for nearly two years, including the tooth tightening/pain, dizziness, muscle twitches, headaches, tinnitus and fogginess. Was diagnosed with migraine and felt so confounded by this only to find others experiencing similar symptoms and the diagnosis being vestibular migraines. I am hoping you are finding some relief and wonder what your treatment plan has been.

  26. I also have gone to Dr. Singer FOREVER (20 yrs +)and am now having to look for a new doc. Such a bummer. any recommendations in the Kirkland area? I’ll go to downtown Seattle if I have to, but it’s such a long day if I have to go into Seattle from Bothell. Would love to hear about Dr. Woo Woo too – based on these chats I’ll look into Dr. Elliott I guess…but he’s in Seattle. Again, if you know of anyone near Kirkland or even Bellevue, I’d appreciate it!

  27. I have been going to Dr. Singer in Kirkland for decades with excellent results, but unfortunately was just informed he is retiring. So now I need to find a new doctor, preferably in Seattle. Seems like the general consensus is NOT Dr. Aurora. Any good suggestions?

  28. I have went to swedish,dr.aurora for 2 years. I agree with the previous consensus that she is rude,condescending. I have had sloppy injections from her, different and I have suspected she doesn’t use the same qty. of my botox, I have been informed to see what she does with the syringe after she leaves the room. It has been so irritating-the wait times,appt. changes due to her vacations,inept scheduler and mismanagement of staff.Had to be reauthorized thru insurance, and going thru another bill hassle with her now. I have severe cervical dystonia, neck pain is worsening, botox seems to wear off at 8 to 9 weeks. I am in excruciating pain for a good 2 weeks after trigger pt. and botox injections. I have called for help and get a call back 2 weeks too late. SO very tired of being in pain, getting no real relief and a doctor that doesn’t give a damn. I feel I am just part of her paycheck, she does not care whether I feel better or if I return. I give up! I am going to look into Elliott, Dr. Lucas.

  29. When I was pregnant both times I was getting migraines daily. Accupuncture twice a week completely cured me. I need no medication at all. I highly recommend.

  30. Definitely did NOT like Dr. Aurora. I went in with my husband (who has the daily headaches) and she was very upset because she thought I had on perfume that was giving her a headache (it was the pharmaceutical person in the waiting room – and it WAS an awful stench). She said she had to keep the door open because perfume made her sick (well hell, me too!) The appointment went downhill from there. I asked one question and she ROLLED her eyes at me and was quite put out I had ANYTHING to say/ask.She was dismissive with my husband as well. Needless to say – never went back to her (and she didn’t help my husband w/his headaches either).

  31. I go to Dr. Singer in Kirkland and highly recommend him. He specializes in headaches and seems to be up-to-date on the newest treatments. He doesn’t double book so no long waits.

  32. Aurora certainly didn’t offer me any pain pills, but we did try some preventive meds. There weren’t too many to try, as I’d had five years of work with migraine specialist Stewart Tepper before he left Seattle (was it something I said?). She was on a Topamax jag, and had me take it for four months despite no response AND an icky side effect (crawling scalp itch that felt like I had bugs, and eventually little lesions). THEN she was mad at me for refusing to continue it…. I don’t know about her skill as a researcher, but she sure seemed like she was funded by Big Pharma. Pah.

    I hope you were able to find another headache specialist who was more helpful.


  33. my wife is suffering from migranes.she has had the same headache for 3 weeks.we have been in the ER,spent 8 days in the hospital.and nothing works.shehad cts,cat scans and nothing.does anyone know of a migranes specialists? email me

  34. Has no one found out who Dr. Woo Woo is? I would also love to know. Wow, it is such a relief, in a strange way, to hear the negative comments about Dr. Aurora and the Swedish Pain and Headache Clinic. She seems to have quite the stellar reputation–I thought it was just me. I can’t stand that place–and yet I go when I have to because I don’t know where else to go and because it is such a hassle to get in to someone else. Dr. Robinson was great when she thought she could “fix” me…but as soon as my headaches didn’t respond to her treatments, she just tried more and different pain meds and then essentially accused me a being a drug seeker. Dr. Aurora can be very personable…or very dismissive and condescending. And I agree, it seems to be all about the research. She certainly has the prestige…her name comes up constantly as “the” headache specialist in Seattle. I know sometimes there are no fixes or it takes awhile to find them…but it would be nice to have someone who seems genuinely to care and is willing to work with you.

  35. I wish I would have read these comments before I began treatment with Dr. Natalia Murinova. The last 4 months have been a nightmare. I have chronic daily headaches due to many years of sinus problems. Dr. Murinova, was difficult to talk talk to from the moment I met her, she was rude, she was more interested in training her students and staff then listening my symptoms and she does not keep record of important details. I was taken off all my pain medication and put on Topamax. The drug never releived my pain, so for over three months I endured level 4 to 8 headaches on a daily basis. I had a hard time seeing clearly, reading and even thinking. S

  36. Dr. Aurora is horrible, she actually gave me two different medications that caused a drug interaction that landed me in the ER. I also felt that she didn’t take my pain seriously, once I moved to NYC I was able to get the care I needed. Don’t waste your time with Dr. Aurora.

  37. I’m surprised to see so many negative comments about Dr. Aurora. She’s successfully treated me for migraines and cervical dystonia on/off for the past 8 years. I agree that her scheduler is difficult, but when I left her a message on her voice mail about an acute issue, I got a call back within 2 hours and was scheduled for the same day.
    I agree with Emma’s comment in that Swedish needs more headache specialists, but will continue to see Dr. Aurora for my headaches and dystonia.

  38. Hey folks, I’ve suffered from chronic headaches and neck pain due to multiple MVA’s that occured about 12 years ago.

    I’ve been in two more since moving to Seattle. My current pain doc wants me to find a new doctor because I now have a few GI issues which are complex in nature and prevent me from keeping meds down. He is not in the practice of RXing fast acting medications, however will RX me Fentanyl at will. I need something for breakthrough pain as I have multiple pain syndromes throughout my body.

    I’m not sure if anyone can help here with any recommendations. I’ve been doing research on the UW’s multidisciplinary approach to healing and the thing is that involves psychotherapy and accupuncture, two things my insurance does not cover.

    Why can’t I just be treated fairly? I understand certain doctors have various guidelines they live and die by, but non-stop gut pain, vomiting endlessly due to gut pain combined with lower spine and upper spine and headaches altogether makes me want to drive off a bridge.

    I now have my regular MD, a new GI doctor, and a new Rheumatologist to try and get better diagnoses for all that ails me but in the meantime, I need something for BT pain as fentanyl has built up in me over time and is just not as effective.

    Any guidelines/help certainly would be appreciated.


  39. Although I have had billing issues with Dr. Aurora’s office, as well as suffered long wait times to see her, I’ve yet to experience her be anything but professional with me. I was seeing Dr. Robinson before and thought with the use of Neurontin I was fine – but this past year has been riddled with migraines, and in July I had a week straight of pain that I could barely work through. Originally, I thought I’d have to wait 2 months to get in, but Dr. Aurora had a cancellation and I was able to get in after [just] two weeks. (It really is a shame that Swedish has only ONE headache specialist. If anything, I’d say it’s the hospital’s problem for the ridiculous wait, not Dr. Aurora’s.)

    Anyway, she has started me on Lidoderm and Flector patches that I adhere to the back of my neck to reduce tightness, which is apparently worsening my migraines. They aren’t an immediate painkiller, but they have definitely helped reduce the occurrences. I’d recommend discussing this option with your doctor if you have more muscle-related tension migraines. Also – definitely consider acupuncture. Again, not an instant fix, but over time it helps recharge your body’s blood flow and get things moving again (kind of like hitting a slow “reset” button). Also, if you’re trying to de-stress your lifestyle, consider an ayurvedic diet for a month or so – just until you get your balance back. It’s a pain to do all the time, but when I feel overwhelmed, I find it’s pretty successful.

    As for immediate pain relief after days of skull-crushing pain, I’ve found that nothing works like a decent opiate like oxycontin – but it’s hard to find someone who’ll prescribe it for you. (Dr. Aurora definitely won’t.)

  40. My experience with Natalia Murinova at the UWMC was terrible. My husband and I were horrified by her behavior. She was very rude. Some of her medical suggestions may be helpful but delivery and personality was not good. I’ve discussed the appointment in detail with a few of my other doctors and was told not to see her again as her behavior was very out-of-line.

  41. i am a 45 year old mother of two. i have had my headaches for over 20 years. i have been told they were from sinus, tmj, tension, neck problems and hormonal. in the last 3 years the headaches have become daily and migraine intensity but not concidered migraines. i have an appt coming with natalia murinova ot the u of w. can anyone tell me anything about her? is she a take a pill and go away type or find out the real problem then treat it type?

  42. I went to see Dr. Aurora for a severe headache and migraines, and she immediately suggested that I get into a study. She proceeded by giving me the study drug intravenously. The drug did nothing for me, except for make me very nauseous. After calling her to say that the treatment did not work, she recommended another drug (a drug that my PA husband said was a “last resort” type medicine). This drug made me even more nauseous and caused my headache to worsen! After this I took some of my old migraine medication and it kicked it! In light of all of this I chose to bow out from the study and as a result I now have to wait one month to see Dr. Aurora for a follow-up. I will not be waiting a month, I will be going to a different doctor!

    All this to say Dr. Aurora is all about the research and not about the patient’s well being. Not only did she pressure me to go into a study, her staff was extremely unprofessional while administering my IV – one complained that they hadn’t had lunch because I was there getting an IV and the other one administering the IV kept on “forgetting” supplies and necessities to complete the treatment so she had to run back and forth between rooms while an IV was in my arm. This clinic has much to learn about patient care and professionalism. I recommend you go elsewhere.

  43. Me again. What I was hoping was that someone could suggest a doctor specializing in cervicogenic headaches as I am increasingly convinced that this is my problem and I don’t know who to see in the Seattle area.

  44. I’m yet another person who could not deal with Dr. Aurora. She can be charming or downright hostile. I would agree that she is primarily research oriented.

  45. Hello, I am looking for someone to help my daughter who lives on Queen Anne in Seattle. I myself saw Dr. Aurora several years ago and she was horrible. All she wanted me to do was take more and more pain-relieving drugs. I won’t say any more about how unpleasant I found her to be, but thanks for the other references.

    So far, my best help seems to have come from a book called “Heal Your Headache, The 1-2-3 program” by Dr. David Bucholz.

  46. Sarah,

    Have you tried Atacand? I’ve had migraines 3 or 7 days for years and years and it is the first drug that has given me a great deal of relief. The only problem with it is it causes weight gain.

    Good luck

  47. had to chime in – Dr. Aurora is a nightmare!! I’ve been seeing Dr. Elliott for several years and he is wonderful

  48. I have not been without a headache for about 20 years. Dr. Lucas is my doctor, and wonderful, but like me, she is frustrated that we have not been able to find something to help. She calls them chronic daily headaches, but then I have headaches associated with my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I would like to find out who “Dr. Woo Woo” is from one of the comments on this website. I will try anything! Any advise from anyone would be much appreciated. I have tried everything! If you have any suggestions, please e-mail me!

  49. I have had CDH for about 3 1/2 yrs. I have seen several local neurologists(Murinova at U of W, Yang at Polyclinic, Aurora at Swedish). Also went to the Michigan Pain and Headache Clinic. All with no success. I am at my wits end. I have tried every drug known to man to treat my headaches. I would like more info. on Dr. Woo Woo? I have had Botox injections, Epiderals, nerve blocks, trigger point injections. I am not sure what else there is to do!!!!

  50. I’ve been seeing Dr. R. Steven Singer, Kirkland, WA, neurologist, for about 16 years now with great success & would highly recommend him. He is personable, and highly educated & only interested in your headaches/migraine….I don’t know what else to say but give him a call and see what he can do for you…….

    Thanks. You’re the second person who has recommended him. In fact, I had already planned to call him today. Your recommendation seals the deal!


  51. I added this to the thread in your forum, but I have been seeing Dr Michael Elliott at the Virginia Mason Clinic since May of this year; since then, I’ve had more success than I have in the past 2 years with anyone else. I did not get along well with Dr Aurora, at all, so I changed to Dr Elliott. He is awesome, and his staff is wonderful!

    Be well,

    Ooh, thanks. I was planning to call someone in Kirkland who has been recommended, but I’d be much more likely to make it to an appointment at Virginia Mason than in Kirkland.

    You and I should really get together sometime and compare notes…


  52. Hi –

    I have had migraines and cluster HAs since I was 7 years old and I am now 51. I have found Dr.Lucas to be a wonderful physician and, though you were much more eloquent and sensitive in your description, I have had a terrible time with Dr. Aurora. I am a neuropsychlogist andI specialie in research,though I do not work with migraines. Thank you for your blog! One thing I am doing that has helped a great deal – getting Botox injections in my neck and head from Dr. Lucas. I alsotake 10 mg of Methadone for contant pain in my neck. The two combine are very helpul on a daily basis. If you don’t know, Methadone is a long acting narcotic and does not make me feel high or altered at all. It is being used more often now for lower grade arthritis pain and restless leg syndrome in very low doses. It is preferable to Percocet or other altering narcotis and has less potential for abuse. Best wishes! – Andie

    1. that’s interesting about Dr. Lucas. I saw her for 15 years, and I always felt like she never took me serious about my migraines when I would be in bed for six days at atime with a migraine. She never once said anything about Methadone. She did say one time, well there’s always disability, and I didn’t really want to do that. However, when I felt I could no longer hold down my job and asked for a letter to that effect, she refused to write one or support me.

      Who are you seeing now?

  53. My wife had very very good success with a guy we call Dr. Woo Woo because the stuff he does is so out there. BUT… it worked. After he started treating her, she was nearly pain-free for 4 months (this was after 6 years of nearly daily headaches, many of them migraines). Unfortunately, we moved from Seattle area.

    She had been going to Dr. Aurora & her partner at the Swedish Pain clinic, Dr. Robinson, without much success: just stronger & stronger drugs without any real relief.

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