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Nu Cindy Chai


Neurologist and pain medicine specialist

Dr. Nu Chai, who goes by Cindy, is a neurologist and pain management physician who cares for patients with chronic pain conditions. She has a special interest in treating pain resulting from problems with the nervous system.

Chai cares for patients who have neck and back pain, sciatica, disc herniations, headaches and many other conditions. She works closely with a team of specialists to recommend medications, physical therapy, psychological therapy and other complementary treatments. She provides a full range of interventional treatments, including epidural injections, joint injections, placement of neuromodulation devices (which send electric signals to control pain), nerve blocks (injecting an anesthetic to disrupt pain signals) and Botox injections.

Chai has published numerous papers related to neuropathic pain, migraine and other headache conditions. Her current research focuses on finding new treatments for neuropathic pain conditions, such as lumbar radiculopathy (often called sciatica) and post-herpetic neuralgia (lasting pain that can follow a shingles outbreak).

After earning her medical degree at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, Chai completed a residency in neurology at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center. She then completed a fellowship in pain management at UCSF. She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, American Pain Society and North American Neuromodulation Society.

  • Education

    Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, 2010

  • Residencies

    Johns Hopkins Medicine, Neurology, 2014

  • Fellowships

    UCSF, Pain Management, 2015

  • Board Certifications

    Pain Medicine, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

    Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Pain is a sensation and an experience, impacting many aspects of life. Managing pain requires the coordinated participation of the patient and many providers.

Where I see patients (2)

    My reviews


    Overall Experience
    263 Ratings
    About our process
    Nov 25, 2023
    Nov 10, 2023
    Very helpful!!
    Oct 26, 2023
    I would definitely agree this care provider showed concern for my pain and suffering. I think I was pretty clear regarding the steps l need to follow in order to recover. Didn't quite like the idea of a md student sitting In on the meeting I don't feel comfortable.
    Oct 15, 2023
    Dr. Chai I S very competent and caring.
    Oct 01, 2023
    Again the care of the staff and providers were excellent - above and beyond! I never felt rushed and all of my questions were listened to and answered.
    Sep 26, 2023
    Dr. Chai is a great Doctor!
    Sep 17, 2023
    After having my procedure rejected by Medicare Dr. Chai worked so hard to gain their approval. She spent time at our last appointment thoroughly and carefully going through all the details of my chronic pain. She was able to persuade Medicare to approve procedures going forward. I could not be more pleased as my options were down to taking opiates again. Thank you Dr. Chai and UCSF!!
    Sep 14, 2023
    Dr. Nu Cindy Chai is a fantastic Physician.
    Aug 31, 2023
    Dr. Chai is the best! She's been a strong advocate for my condition and treatment.
    Aug 31, 2023
    Everything about my visit was excellent.
    Aug 15, 2023
    Like I said before I think Dr. Chai is excellent in listening to me and providing me with a solution.
    Aug 07, 2023
    Waiting for follow up information hoping to hear back this week.
    Aug 03, 2023
    Dr Chai I totally trust. This medical journey I've been on for 16 months has been tough. I believe Dr Chai just might have FIXED the problem. I am so thankful!!!!
    Jul 25, 2023
    I have been seeing Dr. Chai for a while now and she is always attentive to my needs and open to trying new things and taking my feedback based on my experiences. I really appreciate it.
    Jul 06, 2023
    Superb team. Expert and friendly. Also very accommodating as I had a special need related to the procedure.
    Jun 12, 2023
    My care was excellent! My provider listened to my questions and provided information to better educate me. We problem solved together. I felt cared for and best of all I was part of the decision making regarding my care.
    Jun 08, 2023
    Dr Chai and her resident are always very attentive and listen with the utmost patience
    Jun 02, 2023
    I have been in severe chronic pain for over 20 years. I got a 2 minute physical exam. Pushed on my SI joint and then decided it wasn't my si joint.
    May 26, 2023
    A lot of confusing instructions for X-RAYS and other possible treatments.
    May 03, 2023
    Excellent experience.
    Apr 26, 2023
    Dr. Chai is one of the best physicians I have ever had.
    Apr 20, 2023
    This is a disappointing experience. Whatever "procedure" done in the examining room (not an OR) was like useless non-existent. I had no improvement no change. It was like "the Emperor's new clothes"..
    Apr 07, 2023
    Dr. Chai is a lovely person and an Outstanding Physician who has always gone above in her efforts to make me better in my complex case. I've known many doctors and she Dr. Chai is one of three who has always given me their best efforts. I thank her often.
    Mar 16, 2023
    Very kind and most knowledgeable physician. With much gratitude.
    Mar 10, 2023
    Excellent professional-I immediately felt confidence in.
    Mar 01, 2023
    Dr Chai excellent
    Feb 25, 2023
    Dr. Chai is wonderful
    Feb 12, 2023
    Dr. Chai is very nice to deal with. She tries to explain and answer all my questions. She is very receptive to my concerns.I would just prefer that when I do my injections in her office that she does it herself than other medical training. I understand that she's in the room but I would appreciate it if she would do it herself. More personal treatment.
    Jan 06, 2023
    It was essential that it was in person.
    Dec 09, 2022
    Dr. Chai is an excellent physician. I feel very fortunate to be working with her.
    Dec 06, 2022
    She seems extremely rushed / hurried the appointment lasted like less than 10 minutes. Not really seeming like she was actually listening to my needs.
    Nov 23, 2022
    Need to learn more about the solutions to my pain before answering last question.
    Nov 21, 2022
    Dr Chai rocks!
    Oct 18, 2022
    Sep 27, 2022
    Sep 23, 2022
    Very good doctor explained procedure well and very attentive.
    Sep 02, 2022
    Dr. Chai the fellow and the representative from Sprint were all very attentive and concerned about my journey using the PNS system which unfortunately wasn't successful and really irritated my skin and muscles - it was greatly appreciated.
    Aug 29, 2022
    Dr Chai was great very knowledgeable and easy to talk to
    Jul 13, 2022
    The problem isn't the care provider; it is the splintered approach. A doctor should be able to order imaging for problems they would treat.Similarly they should be able to prescribe meds if warranted. As is the approach involves 3 physicians- patently absurd but the doctors procedure/ treatment ides were useful
    Jun 11, 2022
    Little no information proved re pending procedure. Indicated front desk would provide but they did not.
    May 29, 2022
    Dr. Chai is wonderful!
    May 02, 2022
    Very good recommendation regarding treatment
    Apr 29, 2022
    I could not have been more pleased with my visit to UCSF and Dr. Chai and her team.
    Apr 26, 2022
    I received a follow up phone call the same day to schedule my injections for my back and I was so happy. Usually it is very hard to get a hold of anyone or get a call back to schedule injections and then the appointment is a month or longer out. This time I was scheduled two weeks out and I felt so happy because I had something to look forward to.
    Apr 06, 2022
    Mar 29, 2022
    Mar 28, 2022
    Great experience
    Mar 28, 2022
    Very good
    Mar 20, 2022
    Dr. Chai said my case was very challenging and she was not familiar with the symptoms I described to her and her assistant. Therefore she had no definite answers to some of my questions. She did send me a list of books and materials on biofeedback to look over and try.
    Mar 18, 2022
    One of my best experiences. I suffer chronic pain for many years and I have just felt at home with this medical provider and team. Very professional courteous and provided answers to all of my questions. I felt very comfortable at ease and confident of the provider and care team
    Mar 05, 2022
    The provider has no control over appointment availability. Long waits between visits are difficult when patient has pain
    Feb 24, 2022
    Thorough answer questions in a way that's easy to understand