What is Functional Neurology?
Functional neurology is a modality that aims to integrate all of the brain’s sensory activities in order to treat a variety of clinical and subclinical symptoms. It is the rebranding of old chiropractic neurology.
What is neurology then?
Neurology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, functions and organic disorders of nerves and the nervous system. Functional neurology seeks to correct such disorders using eye exercises and other cognitive exercises and activities. It entails sensory training that includes light, sound, smell, touch, physical exercises and breathing exercises. All these exercises are aimed at retraining the patient’s nervous system to function in a healthier manner.
Functional neurology as a healthcare discipline is a relatively new concept used as a powerful treatment option for disorders of the nervous system and as a pro-active brain performance strategy. This practice is done only by a qualified functional neurologist.
Neurologists view the nervous system as a moldable, changeable entity that can be affected in its function through virtually unlimited types of environmental stimulation. This concept of the brain being able to change its function throughout life via environmental stimulation is referred to as ‘neuroplasticity’, and is at the very core of functional neurology and clinical methodology. The neurologist evaluates for subtle changes in the function of the nervous system and keeps track of the progress.
Therapies by a functional neurologist do not include drugs or surgery. Some of the issues that a functional neurologist regularly deals with include:
- Headaches and chronic pain
- Learning and attention disorders
- Developmental disorders
- Head injury or stroke
- Spinal cord and nerve injuries
- Movement disorders
- Vertigo, which is a sub-type of dizziness where the patient inappropriately experiences the perception of motion usually a spinning motion.
The nervous system consists of three parts: The first part of the system is the sensory and motor functions, which respond to one’s orientation in time and space. The second is the parasympathetic system, and this is responsible for controlling cognitive, sleep, immune, digestive, hormonal and sexual functions. The last part of the system is the sympathetic system which controls how different people react to challenges or threats.
Numerous research by neurologist shows that brain and movement disorders occur when these three parts are not properly integrated with one another. This lack of coordination is thought to be the cause of these disorders. The practitioner therefore seeks to evaluate the spinal cord, body and brain in order to find the cause of the problem after which treatments aimed to stimulate various pathways to restore the functional state are done.
Functional neurology is a very healthy way of treating different disorders of the nervous system. The treatments are intended to integrate brain functioning and retrain the parts of the nervous system that may be malfunctioning.