Chronic Pain at Azzolino
PAIN and Your BRAIN
By definition, pain is an "unpleasant emotional response due to adequate nociception, and there is no correlation between the amount of pain one experiences and the level of tissue damage." To appreciate this statement, we must understand how the brain processes pain.
Embedded throughout many tissues of the body — especially the skin, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles — we have free nerve endings acting as pain fibers. These nerve endings, called nociceptors, respond to harmful mechanical pressure and chemicals liberated from damaged tissue.
When pain fibers are activated (nociception), they transmit signals to the brainstem, where the nervous system responds by firing the "fight-or-flight" response increasing:
• Heart rate
• Blood pressure
• Breathing rate
• Muscle tone
They also transmit signals to the limbic system (the emotional seat of the brain), and the somatosensory cortex (the area of our brain that maps our body to allow us to localize sensations).
It's important to understand that only 25% of our pain fibers connect to the somatosensory cortex, while the remaining 75% direct information to our brainstem and limbic centers. Therefore, it is possible to have abhorrent tissues (spinal subluxations or degenerative joint disease) activating nerve endings and the fight-or-flight response without actual pain perception. We cannot judge health by the absence of pain, and using pain-blocking drugs does not decrease the deleterious effects of nociception.
Long-term activation of pain fibers creates "wind-up" and "central sensitization"; Pain-sympathetic loops grow new nerve connections and become more efficient, and tissues throughout the body become hypersensitive. It also causes an overactive stress response, leading to Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS), and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
Since these pain syndromes cause decreased blood supply, muscles rapidly fatigue, and more pain-activating chemicals are released. The patient becomes predisposed to overuse-type syndromes, and rehabilitation is difficult.
Chiropractic neurologists' unique approach is to effectively treat these syndromes by restoring joint biomechanics, prescribing brain-based exercises, and using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT.)
• Improved joint movement activates mechanoreceptors, which inhibits pain and fight-or-flight responses.
• Brain-based exercises activate relay centers in the brain that naturally inhibit pain, decrease hypersensitivity, and improve blood flow.
• HBOT improves oxygenation and is very beneficial in pain syndrome treatment.
We have extensive teaching and clinical experience dealing with the early diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of individuals suffering from pain syndromes.
Get to know us and our doctors. We are Neurological Chiropractors, Integrative MDs, Naturopaths, Respiratory Therapists and more.
Sergio F. Azzolino
Dr. Sergio F. Azzolino is an internationally renowned clinician who has been serving his profession and patients from around the world since 1995. In 2012…
What Our Patients Have to Say
Lisa B. – San Francisco"I've been going to Azzolino Chiropractic on and off for a couple of years, mostly for sports-related issues and I can confidently say they've helped me enormously. When I started going I was training for a half-marathon and having some knee pain. I was doing a charity event so I stuck it out and finished my event. Since then I've continued to work with Dr. A, my knee pain is gone, I've lost over 35 pounds and proudly completed not one but two full marathons in 2008. I could not have accomplished this without the care and support of Dr. Azzolino and his excellent team. He truly cares about the whole person, not just the sum of symptoms you present. I credit him with helping me feel the best I have in years... Highly recommend to anyone who's living with pain or limited movement."Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T10:51:12+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/lisa-b-san-francisco/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
Emiko I. – Monterey, CAI highly recommend Dr. Azzolino's office. Dr. Azzolino definitely pours his heart and soul into his work, and is incredibly knowledgeable. I went to see him due to symptoms we suffered from chemical exposure, and we went to him after looking for answers for many months. When other doctors were not able to help us, he was reassuring and provided immediate treatment as well as exercises we could do at home, and this was the turning point for us in our recovery. I only wish we had gone to him sooner and that we lived closer to his office, as a 2+ hour drive is difficult to do regularly, especially with kids. But, he and his office staff have been awesome to work with - even remotely, quickly responding to emails and phone calls. Dr. Azzolino and his other staff are very warm and caring and down-to-earth, at the same time Dr. Azzolino is efficiently and accurately doing sophisticated analyses and treatments with cutting edge techniques to do work that almost seem miraculous!Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T10:51:34+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/emiko-i-monterey-ca/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
J. A. – Oakland, CAI love Dr. Azzolino. I originally went on the recommendation of my boss (who was a patient) after a car accident left me with torn ligaments in my neck and upper back. They booked me in immediately, and let me tell you, I'd NEVER felt so well taken care of by a doctor before! For two hours, Sergio and his staff tested everything from my peripheral vision to sensitivity to reflexes, took x-rays and in general treated me with great care, respect and concern. It took a while to recover, but I looked forward to every visit, knowing I'd feel much better afterwards. I've been back many times over the years for a wrenched back and a misalignment due to a broken leg, and always feel as well cared for as I did on that first visit. Thankfully, It's been nearly two years since I've needed to go (thanks in part to the stretching exercises he taught me), but I always know if I'm bent over like a question mark and in extreme pain, or just feel the need for an adjustment, they'll be there for me.Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T10:51:56+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/j-a-oakland-ca/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
Julie S. – Palo AltoDr. Azzolino is by far the best Chiropractor I have ever seen. Over the past 9 months, my son's (6 and 10) and I travel weekly to see Dr. Azzolino. Before beginning treatment with Dr. Azzolino, I prayed for acceptable behavior from my son's, but had found it almost impossible for the kids to comply with any level of consistency. Today, their ability to attend to schoolwork, stay on task, follow direction, and maintain appropriate behavior in an appointment/office setting is nothing short of extraordinary. They are more confident (then when we began) and fully capable of conducting themselves properly in general. We owe Dr. Azzolino many thanks. Another advantage, Dr. Azzolino has clear boundaries with children, which include respectful behavior and cooperation. Holding the kids to this example, they respond beautifully. His technical expertise in accessing and individualizing treatment allows me to relax easily when my children are in his attention, another immeasurable value. As for me, after many years of a rigid-painful neck I have the full range of movement and functionality again. Shooting neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, etc., are no longer a daily grind, as his adjustments leave me with greater strength and a greater sense of mental clarity. Trained employees are courteous and knowledgeable, and Dr. Azzolino has staffed his office with talented colleagues as well. Dr. Azzolino is an accomplished practitioner, and I highly recommend his services.Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T10:53:35+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/julie-s-palo-alto/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
Elena P.I've been seeing Dr Azzolino for jaw joint related pain (TMJ), a complication developed after a lengthy dental procedure. After 10 days of migraines I was directed to his office by a prosthodontist (bite specialist). Within 1 week all symptoms were gone, no meds were needed 🙂Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T10:53:58+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/elena-p/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
S. A.I found Dr. Azzolino on Yelp just a few weeks ago. Out of the blue, I was in a lot of pain and not able to move without back spasms. I've seen him about 2-3 times a week over the past few weeks for adjustments and treatments now. My condition has improved immensely since seeing him. I find Dr. Azzolino to be very professional and personable. His staff if friendly and helpful too. I've had some mixed experiences in the past with various chiropractors so I will admit I was a bit leery coming in to see him the first time without any personal referrals. During my first visit to Dr. Azzolino I was very concerned about my condition as I consider myself to be too young to be in the pain I was in. He was very thorough with getting to know my needs and condition as well as took X-rays that he was able to go over with me in the same visit. His cost was surprisingly reasonable for the X-rays compared to other chiropractors I had seen before. He did a good job of explaining what was going on and also calming me down. I was actually impressed by his facilities and all the services he offers. Some other chiropractors I have seen in the past, seem to be limited in what treatments they have available at their facilities. Dr. Azzolino seems to be extensively knowledgeable about the body, how it works, and how it affects the mind. I definitely prefer doctors that integrate other schools of thought besides what they are formally taught. I think it helps to cure/correct whatever your issue is if you have a doctor that looks at the whole picture especially when it comes to physical pain as there are many possible causes that may not even be physical. Dr. Azzolino keeps up to date on relevant research and information. I appreciate him sharing suggestions to further educate me on how to take better care of my body. Unfortunately my insurance does not cover my visits, and even though most chiropractic care is pricey, Dr. Azzolino has proven to be worth the investment in my physical well being today, and hopefully long term as well. I definitely recommend his practice if you are searching for a chiropractor in the area . 🙂Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T10:54:19+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/s-a/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
Marcie D.I have been going to Dr. Azzolino for 8 years now. On my first visit, I had horrible vertigo and I could not stand up or walk. I had tried many Doctors and alternative therapy. As a Chiropractor-Neurologist, Dr. Azzolino is highly qualified, and performed tests for the brain, nerves and muscles. I was desperate- and he cured me of Vertigo. A miracle!! I continue with regular brain exercises, balance movements and chiropractic maintenance sessions. He is very knowledgable and thorough. He is outstanding in the filed of Chiro/Neurology...Marcie DinkelAzzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T10:54:45+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/marcie-d/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
Hilary R.I have never in my lifetime been to a Dr's office that cares so much about their patients that they are willing to call the insurance company while you are working with the Dr. Dr Azzolino not only worked wth me but put the insurance company on speaker phone to drill down what they would cover and how to actually help me find a way to make this work! He has helped me in less than a week feel better due to a sprained and inflamed lower disc and has even shown me excercises I could do on my own. The integrity and passion this office has for their work is second to none. I highly recommend Dr Azzolino and his staff!Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T10:55:32+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/hilary-r/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
Ross C.I've sought help from many doctors and chiropractors in my life. I can easily say that Dr. Azzolino and his staff are a credit to this world. He's not afraid to be straight-forward with you and give the best advice and service possible. A very positive goal-orientated person.Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T10:55:55+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/ross-c/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
Dia R.I have to write a review for anyone that might need a pediatric or adult neurologist down the line because I am so incredibly impressed by our visit with Dr. Azzolino in SF, at Azzolino Chiropractic neurology and Integrative Wellness. My son has developmental delays and some muscle weaknesses that have been attributed to neurological abnormalities. We had been to a traditional neurologist at Stanford, only to be told the only option was an MRI. Seeing this office online, I thought I'd give them a try before doing the MRI next summer. I am soo incredibly impressed at how pro-active Dr. Azzolino is. He gets the whole picture, not just the symptoms. And provided things I can do already to improve my son's condition, from ipad apps, to spinning, to specific exercises, to testing all from a more functional medicine standpoint. Mind you we are already doing physical therapy and speech therapy, but I was so impressed with the comprehensiveness of this neurologist compared to the traditional western medicine one. After leaving Stanford, I just kept thinking, there has to be something more I can do to improve my son's condition, from nutrition to exercises, etc. And boy was I right. Visiting Dr. Azzolino was exactly what I was looking for. A doctor that would look at his symptoms from a medical, nutritional, and functional standpoint.Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T10:56:27+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/dia-r/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
AnonymousDr Azzolino has helped me overcome various health issues. I had a very severe injury, which left me with terrible vertigo and balance problems. I am told I’ve made a miraculous recovery, and I have no doubt that Dr Azzolino played a huge role in this.Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T12:09:26+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/anonymus/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
David G.I found Dr. Azzolino a year after developing a repetitive stress injury. I had never seriously considered chiropractic care, but Dr. Azzolino's explanation of my condition meshed with what I taught myself about repetitive stress injury and allowed me to finally fully understand my condition. Two years later, I am significantly better.Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T12:10:06+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/david-g/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
James NokesI have had severe problems with vertigo, general dizziness and lack of balance for over a year. Luckily, I found Dr. Azzolino’s group. It’s hard to express just how much better my life is now that the whole world isn’t constantly spinning around...Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T12:10:27+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/james-nokes/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness
Jeanne Belli, Registered Nurse, CranioSacral therapistI watched Dr. Azzolino first hand change the lives of patients who were wheel chair bound. I saw the compassion in his demeanor and touch and heard the gratitude that patients expressed toward him and his work. I have not met a chiropractor with such dedication, wisdom and persistence.Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness2020-05-25T12:10:59+00:00https://azzolino.com/testimonials/jeanne-belli-registered-nurse-craniosacral-therapist/0Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology & Integrative Wellness