Neurology Wellness Clinic
The OHSU Brain Institute's Neurology Wellness Clinic combines traditional Chinese medicine with the latest scientific techniques. We treat chronic pain from nerve, headache and musculoskeletal (muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones) conditions.
- A doctor who is both a neurologist and a medical acupuncturist.
- A licensed acupuncturist with expertise in neurologic conditions
- An integrative approach that may include nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes.
- A unique science-based acupuncture method to treat nerve, headache, musculoskeletal and other types of pain.
What is complementary medicine?
Traditional health care approaches, such as acupuncture and herbal supplements, are called complementary medicine when used with conventional treatment. Used alone, traditional practices are known as alternative medicine.
One in three U.S. adults use complementary medicine, according to a National Institutes of Health study.
Conditions we treat
- Low back pain
- Musculoskeletal pain and spasms
- Neck pain
- Occipital neuralgia (pain along nerves at the back of the head)
- Stroke-related pain and spasms
- Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ (pain in the jaw's joint)
- Tension and other headaches
Coordinated care: We consider all aspects of your health in working with you to develop a custom treatment plan. This includes your standard medical care, sleep, exercise and nutrition. We will also discuss the plan with your other providers to make sure therapies work together.
Unique pain-control method: We have developed and tested a unique way to treat pain in peripheral nerves – the nerves that connect your brain and spinal cord with the rest of your body. We choose acupuncture points based on how close they are to large nerves. We also apply electroacupuncture to the feet, which are closely tied to peripheral nerves.
What is acupuncture? Acupuncture, practiced in China and other parts of Asia for thousands of years, involves placing needles in specific areas of the body and manipulating them with the hands, heat or electrical stimulation. It is believed that acupuncture may release the body's painkilling endorphins and may affect serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).
Electroacupuncture: This type uses needles inserted in the skin and attached to tiny clips. An electronic device is used to deliver painless, low-level pulses of electric stimulation. The pulses travel through the needles to provide a stronger, better-targeted and more widespread stimulation.
How can it help? Studies have shown acupuncture can reduce chronic pain in some patients, including those with headaches, nerve pain, neck and low-back pain, and other musculoskeletal pain. More studies are needed for a clearer picture of how acupuncture may benefit other neurological conditions.
A typical course of treatment at OHSU's Neurological
Wellness Clinic is six to eight weekly sessions, though possibly as many
What is cupping? Heated cups of glass, bamboo, earthenware or silicone are put on the skin to create suction that expands blood vessels.
How can it help? Although the precise effect
on the body is unclear, studies show cupping, a traditional medicine
used in ancient China, Egypt and the Middle East, may relieve chronic
neck and low-back pain.
Diet and nutrition
Research shows that dietary changes and nutritional supplements can help people with neurological conditions, including migraines and diabetic nerve damage. Recommendations could include:
- Supplements such as herbs, vitamin E or alpha-lipoic acid
- Anti-inflammatory diet
- Gluten-free or lactose-free diet
- Referral to a nutritionist
Alexandra Dimitrova, M.D., M.A., M.C.R., heads the Neurology Wellness Clinic. She is a neurologist and medical
acupuncturist who specializes in bridging traditional Chinese medicine
and Western medicine. Her research has included acupuncture's effects on
neurologic pain such as diabetic nerve damage, carpal tunnel syndrome
and Bell's palsy. She also has studied the connection between gluten
intolerance and migraines.
- Lucy Yeo, L.Ac., M.Ac.O.M., is a licensed acupuncturist who also practices herbal therapy. She has a master's degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
- Shelley Vega, the clinic's administrative assistant, can help you
schedule appointments and manage other aspects of your care.
Other OHSU services
- We also work with OHSU's Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurological Disorders. The center, also known as ORCCAMIND, studies the effects of traditional therapies on brain and nervous system conditions. Our research includes how acupuncture in specific areas affects nerves and how much it relieves pain.
- Comprehensive Pain Center
- Breath-by-Breath classes
- Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative
Medicine in Neurological Disorders (ORCCAMIND)
- Well-Being Without Pills
- National Center for
Complementary and Integrative Health
- 6 Things You Should Know: The Science of Chronic Pain and Complementary Health Practices, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
- 5 Things to Know About Chronic Low-Back Pain and Complementary Health Practices, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health