Functional Neurology

A while back I posted a question, “Does anybody else use functional neurology as a treatment program?” I did not hear from anybody that does, but many responses asking me what it’s about. So I will try to explain my experience with functional neurology in very layman’s terms.

I was referred to a functional neurologist before I was able to meet with my MD neurologist who subsequently gave me the official Parkinson’s endorsement. I had suspected that I had Parkinson’s almost a year earlier.

Functional neurology relies on the fact that our brain waves flow through our eyes on the way the rest the body. By studying the movement of the eyes it can be determined, in some cases, what part of the brain needs stimulated. In my case the disease affected my right side so therefore they knew that left side my brain would need to stimulation. I spent two days doing intensive eye exercises and many tests tracking my eye movements and charting them out.

After two days the improvements were noted as follows:

A.better speaking

B. swallow better

C.more right-hand flexibility

D.better posture

E.twinkling eyes

F.Les brain fog

G.walking better

H.humor returning

After two days I was sold on the process. I came back two months later for five days of intensive exercises. During that time, we watched as my left brain became more engaged. Thinking that I might have to come in for five days of exercise every month, I reluctantly asked the doctor, “So what’s the treatment program going forward?” His response was, “we have your brain fired up ,now, it’s up to you to continue to do the eye exercises we gave you for home use. You might check back in with us every six months.”

Things were going quite well, then six months later. I had a severe in urinary track infection. That really knocked me down hard. I began to deteriorate rapidly after that event, so much so that I called my doctor and pleaded for him to give me some meds. Up until this time I had only been on Azelac, and some dopamine supplements (mucuna pruriens), Looking back, I realize that I should have gone back to my functional neurologist for some intensive exercises and get my brain reengaged soon after . Six months later, after my infection, my functional neurologist was not able to reengage my brain at the level that it once was just a year ago. So I’m now on carbidopa/levodopa with the hope that I can get some of my functions back. Many of the benefits I got from my first experience with the functional neurologist have deteriorated substantially. My functional neurologist has recommended that once I become stable on the meds, I come back for some more testing to see if we can reengage the brain.

As you can tell from my story, I had great hope in the treatment from functional neurology, in fact I still have great hope that it can help relieve some of my dependency for medications.

I have witnessed and personally talked to several people that have received great benefits from functional neurology. Since we are all so different, and functional neurology can produce many different results, I’m not suggesting or recommending that functional neurology would be the right treatment program for you. That would be something you have to find out for yourself.

For a little more technical information to help you understand how the brain works and how functional neurology can be beneficial, find the February 2016 issue of National Geographic titled . “100 things you didn’t know about your brain”. It has excellent information.

26 Replies

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  • Thank you for providing all that information, fascinating! I have heard from other people that that article in National Geographic is very good. I hope you will keep us up to date on how you are doing and I hope you're able to get back your function you had before. Good luck!

  • It sounds to me that you had a placebo affect the first time you went to the functional neurology clinic. Now that you are having a lot of Pd symptoms they are unable to help you. And they dumped you. So what good are they if they can only help you when you are stable you don't need them then.

    By your post they can't help you.

    I stand by my original post it is not a viable treatment.

    "Functional neurology relies on the FACT that our brain waves flow through our eyes on the way the rest the body."

    That is a very very very bold statement .

    If i read it right they can not help you unless you have your symptoms under control.

    Why go to them.

    Is this a joke?

    Bailey

  • I got an entirely different message from the post. What I under stand is that some maintenance of current abilities can be achieved through specific exercises that are practiced faithfully and that some capabilities can be strengthened if trained through this program. Why not be willing to try? An arthritic can maintain some mobility in the hands/fingers through exercise. Those who do not try, find that their hands/fingers, over time, will not function.

  • Exercise that involves the affected limbs or joints make sense but to do eye exercise alone just not ring true to me

  • "And they dumped you?" Rather a harsh response, Bailey. You don't ask someone if his choice of treatment is "a joke." There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking issue with another person's post, so long as you treat the poster with respect.

  • Question? Would you eye treatment fall under the following copied from Google?

    How does Chiropractic Neurology differ from conventional neurology?

    The conventional neurological approach involves the interpretation of data on a strict black and white scale. This system of analysis leaves an abundance of individuals manifesting symptomatic dysfunction “out of the loop” without a diagnosis and a well structured treatment plan. The chiropractic neurological approach differs in that it interprets dysfunction on a functional continuum recognizing those individuals left in the grey area. In essence, the clinical findings and symptoms are reviewed with an intimate understanding of the neurology and physiology involved. The chiropractic neurologist then formulates a plan targeting the dysfunctional areas within the body and the nervous system. This means that through the utilization of a functional neurological approach, chiropractic neurology offers an exceptionally valuable option for certain patients that have been unable to obtain a named diagnosis or solution for their problem, especially in the case when a dysfunction, rather than a named process of pathology, exists.

    Chiropractic neurologists do not prescribe drugs nor do they perform surgery. A much more intimate participation is taken in the functional rehabilitative care of the patient. Chiropractic neurologists are most often directly involved in performing and Ioverseeing rehabilitation and treatment. This is a clear distinction from medical neurology which usually involves a more hands-off approach. Chiropractic Neurologists often prefer to remain directly involved in the rehabilitation of their patient population so that they can appropriately fine tune rehabilitative procedures to the ever-changing, dynamic needs of the recovering patient.

    I got this trying to find your treatment on Google.

    I will repeat my question....Is your treatment Chiropractic?

    BillDavid

  • What is a "dysfunction" .

    "medical neurology which usually involves a more hands-off approach" what does this mean.

    What do these statement mean.

    "The conventional neurological approach involves the interpretation of data on a strict black and white scale. "

    "The chiropractic neurological approach differs in that it interprets dysfunction on a functional continuum"

  • V=http://www.functionalneurologysociety.ca/ConsultingaFunctionalNeurologist-Practitioners.php

    There is a field of medicine called functional medicine, think of Dr. Oz. But it seems that what is referred to as functional neurology is primarily a chiropractic sub specialty.

  • By any chance is your functional neurologist a graduate of the Carrick Institute of Neurology? We have been seeing a Chiropractor with PhD as well from them for 13 years and both my husband and I [he has Parkinsons as well as Post Polio Syndrome] I just have PPS would not be as good as we are without his treatment. He uses how our eyes respond to moving stripes and pointers as we do actions which is what made me ask?

  • I am not sure of his educational background. I just know that he is invited to present all over the world. I am told functional neurology is very big in Europe.

    It is a Chiropractic specialty field so insurance coverage is random. I am told Medicare does not pay much if at all. Of course it doesn't pay for my supplements, my fitness gym nor my home exercise equipment. In fact most treatment plans that are not drug sponsored are not approved by most insurances.

    To address Bailey's concerns. When I first benefited from the exercises, I told my wife that I did not know if it was real or imaginary. Since she is the one that noticed my improved physical outcomes she said, "Who cares? It is working!" I still retain a much clearer state of mind as a result of my continued eye exercises, than I had before. When I went back recently to be treated, my energy level was so low, I did not have the energy to do the exercises properly. It was bad timing. It is very much like going to a Crossfit workout with a raging internal infection and having flue symptoms. Crossfit just would not be beneficial for me that day. I know, I did Crossfit for 5 years before I determined how much it was tearing down my body. I did not want to admit it but others proved me wrong.

  • Hi Dontodd,

    Very interesting. At this writing I remain unmedicated and find your experience fascinating and logical. Is a functional neurologist an MD and are his services covered by Medicare and supplemental? As someone with a right side tremor and stiff arm I assume my problems are in the left brain area and I can see the logic and direct assistance such a program could afford but I just don't want to go broke doing it.

  • Please read his post. He clearly states that they could not help him when he went back. They kicked him to the curb and said when he got better to come back and maybe they could help him.

  • Bailey, as you are probably aware, we are living with a disease with no current promise of 'cure'. If a practice which is non-intrusive, doesn't involve surgery or medication, shows any promise of managing symptoms, I feel obligated to explore it, if possible. But I agree with you about this final chapter of treatment. They obviously are limited in the scope of whom they can even try to treat, so I appreciate your comment.

  • On several occasions, I have benefited a lot from spending several days painting. I believe the constant use of hand-eye coordination was why it helped.

  • I went to a Functional Medical MD, and it costs too much, the average person can't afford it, and its something you have to go for awhile at. She injected procaine into different points in the body and I felt great for a few days. She did do some eye movements but not a lot. I have done eye movement therapy for anxiety and it worked quite well. D. Klinghardt MD is the father of functional medicine. Interesting, but may not be the best complimentary treatment for us. But were all different with the same disease.

  • Bailey wasn't it you couple weeks ago harping on us about negativity? ? You are being down right rude & mean to dontodd for HIS CHOICE OF CARE. Seems very negative to me..practice what you preach Mr TX?!

  • I don't mean to be negative.

    I am sure that his Functional Neurology practitioner means well.

    I hurts so bad to see some one in pain to go to some one they trust and be told they are too sick for them to help them and to come back when they are better. dontodd took the blame for not feeling good enough to do his treatment.

    I would and have used what has been proven to work.

    It also hurts when i read about people who tried to find an alternative treatment ended up on meds any way and just suffered for years for no reason trying to delay the use of traditional meds. They lost those years and will never get them back. There is no short cut just hard work. If drug company's with billions of dollars can't find the perfect drug or cure we for sure can not. False hope is not better than no hope at all.

    Live for today for tomorrow never comes

    Bailey

  • I am tired of gloom and doom........ no one is kicking anyone to any curb. tomorrow will come just as today has..... John Pepper is just as right as the first person that posted on this site was.....

    The bottom line is anything, ANYTHING positive someone does for themselves that results in themselves feeling positive creates an overall positive response. This is a nuero-muscular malfunction.

    I have dealt with it for 12 years, going from diagnosis to 32 pill cocktail to DBS and yoga and acupunture and limited meds.

    Just remember this should be a positive blog. No curb kicking people, no wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    Keep it little lighter maybe. I spent too much time thinking I was important enough in life that people were certainly laying awake thinking how they were going to "get me" the next day.

    Turns out I'm just another bloke trying to enjoy my life one day at a time.

  • Here, here. Couldn't agree more,

  • Dontodd thanks for sharing your experiences, that was really interesting and I do hope that when you are more stabilised and you go back that you continue to get help with your symptoms that way.

    Cheers

  • Functional Neurology:

    sciencedaily.com/releases/2...

    From the link:

    The following list is an exhaustive attempt to document the conditions which functional neurologists actually are able to treat:

    "Having too much money"

    It seems most likely that functional neurologists are practicing pseudo-science.

    Neuropsychologists would admit to an imperfect understanding of the functional impact of injuries to regions of the brain. However, at least they can point to objective evidence of damage and scientific evidence of treatment efficacy for a narrow range of conditions.

    In contrast, functional neurologists claim to treat non-ablative problems with the brain, that is, areas without any identifiable physical damage but nevertheless with impaired function. Attempts to elucidate criteria from practitioners for their definition of what constitutes impaired function has been unfruitful.

    Studies into the efficacy of their methods are non-existent even within chiropractic journals. Theoretical accounts for the mechanism of treatment actions are generally not even wrong. Considering that the practitioners claim to able to treat such a stunningly wide array of diseases one might expect a glut of publications or even a strong theoretical underpinning. This is not the case, however, The lack of evidence for the efficacy of functional neurology has not stopped legitimate universities from providing tenure to practitioners, a move that has conferred a level of credibility they don't deserve.

    For those who are interested there is a decent number of articles published that elucidate the theoretical underpinnings of functional neurology (for example).

  • DonTodd, thanks for re-opening this topic. Can you give some examples of what the eye exercises involved? Do you sense they helped more with cognitive issues than with motor skills?

  • Interesting....must get that article and read it. You bought into the program fully so it worked well. Those UTI's sure put everything out of whack, don't they. You should be able to reingage your program and cut down on sinemet as you fell better, and better. Are you still on the Azilect? MAO inhibitors, when they work well, are hard to leave in the dust. I'm still wary of the distributors of mucuna pruriens since the industry has little regulations regarding age of bean harvested, strain grown, amount in compound. Waiting for more on the 'velvet bean' before changing from sinemet.

  • Don't odd, where do you live? I am in BC, Canada and never heard the term functional neurology before.

  • I live in Southern Oregon. The FN is in Portland. People come down from Seattle all the time to see him.

  • I used a neurological chiropractor 2-3 years ago and I saw benefits, although it wasn't "functional neurology" . Things that didn't seem to make sense seemed to work. Until we understand ALL about life, I feel we should keep an open mind with a good dose of skepticism. To be sure, there are those that profit off of misery. The fact that this practitioner of yours did not advise further treatment, feeling it futile, may show integrity. I've drifted off into other approaches to addressing my symptoms, but have been motivated to check out my options from this post. I've found a highly accredited practitioner of functional neurology and made an appointment for Feb. 8. 2016. The intake forms that they sent me are impressive in their length and detail. I will follow up with a post.

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