To answer that question we need to quickly see what chiropractic is. Chiropractic has been around for over 100 years now. Most people go to a chiropractor for some form of neck/back pain, tight muscles, or to feel better is some form or fashion. This can all be true, but it offers so much more. The main idea of chiropractic is clearing what is called subluxation (s) of the spine to allow for proper nerve and blood flow function. A subluxation is when the proper function of a particular nerve or group of nerves cant function at 100% and when this happens the tissue(s) that is/are supplied from the nerves(s) cant work properly. This looks like tight muscles, increases in pain, gut dysfunction, tiredness, decreases in cognition, etc. The main tool a chiropractor uses to fix these subluxations is the adjustment. The adjustment, usually delivered by hand or an instrument is a high velocity and low amplitude force into a certain area to help restore proper function of the nerve and muscles. The adjustment removes the fixation or subluxation to increase nerve conduction and allow for proper blood flow to the tissues that the nerve supplies.
Functional Neurology is the study of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous system. These different systems connect to muscles, different organs (heart, lungs, stomach, liver, etc), glands, and most importantly the brain. This is important because the brain controls all aspects of life from movement, thoughts, organ function, decreasing pain, stress level, etc. We can think of the brain as the CEO of the body that either controls something or makes sure something is working properly. To understand the proper function, and really dysfunction, of these systems functional neurologist, have to acquire at least 300+ hours of post-doctorate accredited neurology courses.
These courses consist of many neurological subjects from migraines, balance issues, pain disorders, concussions, and other muscular and neurological issues.
The biggest idea behind functional neurology is in the name; functionality. Functional neurologists use a non-invasive approach to target decreased areas of the brain from eye movements, balance therapies, cognitive exercises, etc. All of the brain rehab strategies are designed specifically for that patient and to promote what we call long-term potentiation or neuroplasticity (discussed in the next section).
Combining chiropractic and functional neurology:
Chiropractic + functional neurologist = Chiropractic Neurology. When we combine these 2 therapies we are able to help patients dealing with neck/back pain, balance issues, concussion, migraines, and many other nervous system issues. For me, patient education is very important. My goal for this is to allow the patient to understand just a little more about what they may be going through and possibly why. In the last section, long-term potentiation and neuroplasticity were briefly discussed. We can think of neuroplasticity in the brain as a plastic bag. We can shape and form a plastic bag in different ways and we can do the same thing with the brain. With chiropractic and brain-based rehabs, we are able to change the FUNCTION of the brain and help it getting working better. Here are 2 examples in the office we tell our patients to help understand this better:
Ex- If you go and shoot a free throw, in basketball, and you shoot 99 free throws but you shoot them wrong, the 100th free-throw will not automatically be correct. This is the same for the brain as well. The brain tries to learn from our environment but if we are giving it the wrong stimuli, such as increases in pain, poor balance, more stress it cannot learn properly. The brain doesn’t like being in pain or have poor balance and it will try to do all it can to compensate but it can only do so much. Chiropractic neurologist’s goal is to help the brain take in the world better (sound, lights, balance, eye movements, etc) to allow for decreases in pain, better movement, increases in cognition, etc.
Brain-based rehab is for people of all ages from kids to older population. In our clinic, every patient is considered a neuro patient. You can be coming in with pain, post-concussive issues, just general wellness, or high-end athletes. At the end of each visit, our goal is to allow your brain to have a better perception of the world, increase your ability to handle stresses in life and to enjoy life to its fullest. A HAPPY BRAIN IS A HEALTHY BRAIN