Dr. Andrew Gordon wants you to know if you suffer from migraines, headaches or other neurological problems, there’s a cost-effective alternative to visiting a hospital. As one of the nation’s largest independent neurology groups, Northwest Neurology delivers a wide variety of services and specialties, often with a lower cost and a higher degree of patient-centered care. Gordon is one of 17 physicians and four nurse practitioners working at Northwest Neurology’s locations in Lake Barrington, South Barrington, Crystal Lake, Rolling Meadows and Libertyville. Two sleep medicine specialists are expected to
join this fall.
“Northwest Neurology is unique in having greater depth and broader scope than a typical neurology practice,” says Gordon. And, Northwest Neurology physicians have medical staff privileges at many of the area’s leading hospitals, including Advocate’s hospitals in Barrington, Elgin and Libertyville; North-west Community Hospital, in Arlington Heights; and Amita hospitals in Elk Grove and Hoffman Estates. Inpatient services are handled by five Northwest Neurology neurohospitalists.
One of Gordon’s specialties is migraine and headache disorders. When it comes to treating headaches, he invests time in the “detective work” that helps him to get to the bottom of the issue.
“There’s a genetic predisposition and then there are also environmental factors, like diet – nitrates, nitrites, aspartame, caffeine, other preservatives, MSG and fermented foods,” says Gordon. “Skipping meals, irregular sleep patterns and hormonal changes can also trigger migraine.”
Often marked by nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound, migraines begin with inflammation in the brain’s blood vessels.
Migraines that occur just a few times a year usually can be treated with over-the-counter medicine, says Gordon, but when these headaches become frequent, it’s time to see a neurologist. An individualized treatment plan that utilizes preventive strategies and fast acting medication to treat breakthrough headaches can help to improve a patient’s quality of life, he adds
Oral medication, nutritional supplements and Botox injections can be highly effective treatments for chronic migraine, Gordon says, but he’s also looking toward several new advancements including monoclonal antibodies that block CGRP, a key brain peptide involved in migraine pathogenesis. He’s also using Cefaly, a new FDA-approved device that uses neurostimulation.
“If the first medicine doesn’t work, I will try a second or third, but I’ll also consider alternative approaches,” says Gordon. “You have to be innovative.”
Migraines and headaches represent just one subspecialty at Northwest Neurology. The practice maintains one rapid access clinic focused on concussions and another one focused on transient ischemic attacks (TIA) – mini strokes that display short lived symptoms.
“We spearheaded a project with Advocate Health System to provide rapid clinic access for patients discharged from the emergency room who have had possible TIAs,” explains Gordon. “We get folks in for an office appointment within 24 hours. This helps to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and lower costs. We’re always trying to be innovative in our thinking.” The TIA clinic now serves all six hospitals served by Northwest Neurology.
The practice also maintains one of the Chicago area’s largest multiple sclerosis (MS) centers, a growing practice, in part, because of its integrated care model, in which physicians and patient services are brought together under one roof. MS patients have easy access to a large infusion center and two locations offering MRI services.
Using the latest technology available in high field magnets, Northwest Neurology’s MRI fellowship-trained radiologists read all scans. “After patient studies are reviewed, we can get back to the patient right away with results,” says Gordon.
Northwest Neurology’s emphasis on specialized care has helped the practice to grow while retaining key features of a smaller clinic.
It’s much appreciated by those who suffer with frequent migraine headaches. If your life is being interrupted by frequent headaches, maybe it’s time for a deeper look at how a neurologist can help you to reclaim your lifestyle.
“I spend extra time with each patient, trying to listen to what’s going on,” says Gordon. “That’s how we figure it out and make things better.”