Functional Neurologists are specially trained to evaluate the intricate function of each individual’s nervous system. They use clinical assessments and specialized diagnostic testing.
Functional neurologists see the brain as pliable and can be changed with environmental stimulation. They treat symptoms using a combination of physical and mental exercises, balance and balancing activities, and nutrition support.
Unlike traditional medicine, which often views the nervous system as black and white, functional neurology sees it in different shades. It views the brain as pliable and something that can be changed through environmental stimulation—called neuroplasticity.
Every year in the United States, 1.4 million people experience a traumatic brain injury. Of these, 235,000 are hospitalized, and 50,000 die. In the case of a severe head injury, patients are typically admitted to the intensive care unit for close neurological monitoring. They are evaluated with the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) to determine their severity level.
Regardless of the degree of TBI, it’s important to consult with medical professionals when you experience symptoms like headaches and dizziness. They can help you stabilize your blood pressure, control your symptoms, and prevent further injury. They can also evaluate for increased intracranial pressure (ICP). High ICP can block oxygen flow to the brain, depriving it of essential nutrients and increasing damage.
When someone sustains a TBI, they need immediate medical attention. At the emergency room, doctors try to learn as much about a person’s condition and how their symptoms came about. They also determine how severe the head injury is by assessing the victim’s responsiveness using the Glasgow Coma Score (GCS). Upon arrival, Those with a higher GCS score tend to have better long-term health outcomes.
In contrast, functional neurologists from Integrated Brain Centers see the nervous system as pliable rather than fixed. They look at a person’s symptoms as shades of gray and focus on the areas of the brain that are not functioning properly to find the root cause.
They utilize many tools and techniques, including the GyroStim device for vestibular disorders (trouble with balance, dizziness, nausea) and traditional exercises, physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, and other therapies. They may also suggest nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle changes to promote recovery. They can also help patients reduce their reliance on medications, which come with a laundry list of side effects.
In addition to treating concussion symptoms, functional neurology focuses on preventing future injuries. It uses various treatment methods to promote brain healing and improve balance, vision, hearing, and movement. These techniques include chiropractic manipulation, dietary changes, acupuncture, massage therapy, and progressive modalities such as neurofeedback.
Most mild to moderate brain injuries are not diagnosed as they don’t appear on a CAT scan or MRI. However, a functional neurologist can use a series of exam tools to help identify problem areas in the brain and body.
Functional neurology is based on the idea that the nervous system is pliable and can be changed by environmental stimulation. This concept is called neuroplasticity, the core methodology behind diagnosing and treating neurological disorders. It is also the basis for identifying which parts of your brain and body are responsible for your symptoms.
Using various exam tools to create a broad, objective picture of brain function and health, functional neurology aims to identify the root cause of symptoms. The neurologist will use a combination of therapies and techniques to promote neuroplastic changes in the brain, improving the patient’s ability to heal.
The neurologist may also recommend specific exercises and lifestyle changes that can help prevent further damage, symptoms, or health problems. Many patients see a return to their normal functioning and a reduction or elimination of their symptoms.
A functional neurologist is a health care practitioner, such as a medical doctor, chiropractor, osteopathic physician, or physical therapist, who has completed extensive training in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders. The training includes learning the neuroscience of the human body, including neural development, neuroanatomy, and connectivity, and how the brain affects overall physiology. This knowledge enables the functional neurologist to develop and implement comprehensive patient treatment plans.