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Headache Help Comes to Waterford

August 29, 2017

If you struggle with chronic headaches, the last thing you need is to wait a year and drive several hours for an appointment with a specialist. The opening of the Hartford HealthCare Headache Center in Waterford means sufferers from three states can cross that off the list of things causing their heads to throb.

Beginning September 6, Kelly Heilman, APRN, and Linda Poteau, APRN, both specialists from the Headache Center, which is part of the Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute, will begin seeing patients in new office space at 196 Parkway South, Waterford, according to Dr. Brian Grosberg, medical director of the Headache Center. That move brings vital care into the east region of the state and close to the Rhode Island and even Massachusetts borders.

“With 36 million migraine sufferers in the country, that means one in every 10 to 12 people suffer,” Dr. Grosberg says. “The demand for headache services far outstrips the supply of specialists. The care we offer through the Hartford HealthCare Headache Center is unlike any available across the country.”

Patients coming to the Waterford office will have access to the full range of services available through the Headache Center, which also has locations in West Hartford and Meriden,  including:

  • State-of-the-art imaging.
  • Physical therapy geared toward helping relieve the pain of headaches.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
  • Biobehavioral treatment such as biofeedback and cognitive behavior therapy, both of which are non-medication treatments.
  • Medication treatments including Botox and nerve blocks.
  • Research studies, including a ground-breaking study into status migrainosus, whereby patients experience prolonged bouts of migraine lasting three or more days in a row, with colleagues at Harvard Medical School.

An academic practice, which means the providers participate in weekly headache and neuroradiology rounds and are involved in research in their specialty, the Headache Center combines all the elements needed for the thorough evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of headaches. Each patient is treated individually because each headache is unique, Dr. Grosberg explains.

“Ours is a very patient-centric approach and the care we give is tailored to the individual patient, not a cookie cutter approach,” he says. “We look at each person, their medical history, preferences, medication list, and the context of what’s going on in their life to come up with a treatment plan.

“It’s like a 100-foot view of their headache and all of the internal and external factors that impact their headache and quality of life.”

“This is the only program in the country where headache care is being geographically distributed across a healthcare system, maintaining a uniform level of care for all patients,” Dr. Grosberg says.

The next step for the Headache Center is to introduce telemedicine, which will enable the providers to support their patients at home. Even office visits could be conducted in person or via video conference as part of telemedicine, Dr. Grosberg notes.

“It’s a revolutionary way to deliver headache care and is ideal for patients who live far away from the office, who go away to college or who need to schedule appointments before or after work,” he says.

Referrals for appointments in Waterford can be made by calling 860.696.2925.

To learn more, visit hartfordhealthcare.org/services/headache-center.