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Nina Riggins


Headache specialist, advocate and educator

About me

Dr. Nina Riggins is a neurologist who specializes in headache medicine. She is especially passionate about working on challenging cases with the UCSF neurology team to help patients return to a high-functioning and pain-free state. She has expertise with a variety of state-of-the-art treatments, including neuromodulation devices, which can ease chronic pain by altering nerve activity and were recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Riggins' research investigates causes and treatments for headaches. Her studies of specific therapies include Botox injections, a new class of drugs known as calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists as well as a procedure called a sphenopalatine ganglion block. She is also studying the possible relationship between migraines and cochlear implants – devices used to restore a sense of sound to people with severe hearing loss.

Riggins' journey to medicine was inspired by her father, a neurologist who taught her about the brain as well as the joys of ping-pong. From her mother, an endocrinologist, she learned about interacting networks between the brain and endocrine system, she enjoys to discover a cause and treat headache in a setting of hormonal changes.

Riggins earned her medical degree from Volgograd State Medical University, graduating cum laude. She also earned a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Moscow. She completed a residency as well as a fellowship in neurology at Volgograd State Medical University, a residency in internal medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, a residency in neurology at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She then completed a fellowship in headache neurology at UCSF, where working with renowned headache expert Dr. Peter Goadsby helped to shape her philosophy of care.

Riggins is a member of the American Headache Society and American Academy of Neurology. She has participated in Neurology on the Hill, an advocacy event in Washington, DC, where she talked to members of Congress on topics important to neurologists and their patients. Believing that medical providers and migraine suffers can make a difference by working together, she is active in events such as Miles for Migraine, which raises awareness of headache conditions and funding for research.

Riggins enjoys working with medical students and residents and fellows as they rotate through the UCSF Headache Center.

  • Education

    Volgograd State Medical University, 1997

    University of Moscow, PhD, Biochemistry, 2002

  • Residencies

    Volgograd State Medical University, Neurology, 1998

    Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Internal Medicine, 2008

    Penn State Health, Neurology, 2011

  • Fellowships

    Volgograd State Medical University, Neurology, 2000

    SUNY Buffalo, Clinical Neurophysiology, 2012

    UCSF, Headache Neurology, 2013

  • Board Certifications

    Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry/Neurology-Neurology

  • Academic Title

    Assistant Professor

My patients come first, and I strive to provide the most thorough and professional care.

Headache Center

2330 Post St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94115

My reviews


Overall Experience
163 Reviews
Dr. Riggins is amazing; very caring and thorough
Explained things in a way that was easy to understand
160 Reviews
Did the doctor pay attention to your concerns
161 Reviews
Gave easy to understand instructions about taking care of health problems or concerns
156 Reviews
Knew the important information about your medical history
162 Reviews
The provider showed respect for what you had to say
162 Reviews
The provider spent enough time with me
162 Reviews
Decorative Caduceus

Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks RCT

Reduction in headache days from baseline to month 8 of treatment