What Is Functional Neurology?


Functional Neurology is an exciting approach to healthcare.

Traditionally, neurology tends to look at disease of the nervous system as black-and-white with one side being optimal neurologic function and the other being neurological disease such as tumors, strokes etc. Functional Neurology looks at dysfunction of the nervous system as different shades of gray looking for subtle changes in the nervous system before they become distinct pathologies.You will often hear it said by functional neurologist that neurons need fuel and activation in order to thrive and survive. Fuel can be defined as oxygen, glucose and essential nutrients. Activation refers to stimulation of the nervous system which causes changes in the structure and metabolism of the nerve cell. More recently, Functional Neurology Practitioners are also involved with eliminating possible negative effects on neurons such as toxins, infectious agents and immune responses.

Four factors that are of high importance in functional neurology care are:

1.  Determining where the failure in the nervous system and/or body lies.

2.  What would be the right stimulation to activate that area?

3.  What is the health and condition of the failing area, so as to determine how much stimulation would be too much.

4.  Adapting this vital information in order to apply that precise amount of stimulation to the patient in our office.

It is important to note that the stimulations used, must be specific to the particular patient who is being treated. There is bio- individuality to the nervous system, just as individual as a fingerprint, and such that even those with similar symptoms may require different stimulations at different frequencies and intensities in order to achieve the best success. This cannot be done in a generalized or cookbook type program. For example, you cannot treat every patient with a balance disorder or ADHD with the same treatment protocols. Generalized treatments run the risk of exciting an area of the nervous system that is already overexcited, or stimulating an area that should be inhibited. Results are maximized due to the fact that the program of stimulations is tailored to the individual patient’s problem and capacity, and not a one-size-fits-all program where results may be limited or the program may actually be inappropriate.  In other words:  Different people, different brains, and therefore, different treatments.

It is important to note that the functional neurological examination although very detailed is noninvasive and therefore can be performed on many different types of patients without patient anxiety being a factor. This is very significant especially for those practitioners treating children on the autism spectrum, because there is a tendency for these children to have higher anxiety.   The skilled Functional Neurology Practitioner realizes that everything from the patient’s posture, to tics, to faulty eye movements, and alignment are all expressions of what is going on in the patient’s nervous system.  Subtle though these expressions may be, to the highly skilled Functional Neurologist, these little things mean a lot.

Activation of the nervous system via specific exercises or stimulations to targeted areas of the brain, pathways or circuits can create powerful results in the patient, but should be carefully monitored, so that the metabolic capacity of the patients nervous system is not exceeded, and damage does not occur instead of the intended rehabilitation.

Functional neurology is on the cutting edge of health care.

Functional neurology is a field of study that achieves successful results by applying current neuroscience in an office setting. This means that the Functional Neurology Practitioner is taking current neuroscience from the research laboratory and devising ways of applying that research in the office to treat patients. The training begins with neuron theory and progresses to a level that allows the practitioner to evaluate and treat dysfunction of the nervous system without the use of, or in conjunction with medications.

The concept of functional neurology is relatively new and therefore begs the question” What exactly is functional neurology? ” This is an inquiry that I get asked when doing presentations, and by email on a regular basis. Hopefully the above helps to clarify some of the questions and misconceptions out there regarding Functional Neurology.

The following is a list of health conditions people have shown significant improvement with:

  • Balance disorders
  • arm/shoulder pain
  • low back pain/sciatica
  • bulging/herniated discs
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • dizziness
  • dystonia
  • early Alzheimer’s symptoms
  • fibromyalgia
  • RLS (restless leg syndrome)
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • insomnia
  • hip/knee/feet pain
  • tremor disorders
  • MS symptoms
  • neck pain
  • numbness
  • spinal stenosis
  • low immunity

If you have been suffering with pain, headaches, dizziness, or others conditions and still need answers, this is the place for you to be. To request your new patient paperwork, call 717 697-0589 today. You can also click here to send us an email. Call today to see what functional neurology can do for you!