Charisse Litchman, MD

After graduating from Yale medical school and completing my medical internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital and neurology residency at Cornell-New York Hospital, I opened a practice in general neurology treating patients with a myriad of neurologic problems including Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, Seizures and various pain syndromes. Treating all of my neurology patients has been exciting, challenging and rewarding.

What became evident to me after over a decade in my general neurology practice was that subset of patients who were being underserved by a lack of recognition of their suffering and by a paucity of treatment approaches: the headache sufferers.  These patients would mention their headaches to their primary care doctors and their neurologists who would often turn the focus of their office visits to “more pressing issues”.  I recognized that these patients deserved to be heard and their needs addressed.  I pursued subspecialty training in headache medicine, becoming certified in headache medicine and becoming a fellow of the American Headache Society, and have focused my attention on serving the headache sufferer.

I believe that success in treating headaches can only be achieved through a partnership between the patient and the doctor.  Effective treatment requires accurate diagnosis of headache type (there are many types of headaches besides migraine) and accurate diagnosis can only be achieved through effective communication.  Treatment approach must be multifaceted. Besides prescribing medications, the headache specialist should help the patient identify food and behavioral triggers that must be modified.  Extensive evaluations may be necessary to rule out physical causes underlying the headache, such as changes in the neck or lyme disease.  Vitamin therapy and modalities such as acupuncture and biofeedback can help.  Botox therapy can be extremely beneficial when used for certain types of headaches. Successful treatment of each headache patient is predicated on individualized therapy tailored to his or her headache types and his or her personal needs.

It has been my privilege to work with all of my neurology patients for the last 25 years.  In the greater than ten years that headache medicine has been my primary focus, my career has further enhanced my life as much as I know it has improved the lives of my patients.

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