Functional neurology, also known as chiropractic neurology, is a specialty within chiropractic medicine. The discipline focuses on brain injuries and disorders, such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, migraine headaches, cerebral palsy and autism. It also is used for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, which historically has been considered a serious psychological issue rather than a brain disorder. The practice increasingly draws new patients who prefer alternative therapy to traditional medical care as well as patients who have not experienced good results with standard medical procedures.
People generally think of chiropractic therapy as focusing primarily on the spine and thus being most useful for relieving back and neck pain. Chiropractic neurologists are skilled in this area as well, but they have completed additional extensive education giving them expertise in evaluating and treating neurological problems without the use of medication or surgery. They use diagnostic tools that are also used by doctors, such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging. However, they also watch for subtle changes in the patient's nervous system function that can provide better keys to understanding what has gone wrong and to providing more effective treatment.
People who are frustrated with their current medical care or who want to avoid having to take prescription medication may be interested in trying this type of therapy. Parents may be interested in the therapy for their children as well. For instance, parents of a youngster diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may not want to have the child taking daily medication. Instead, the child may experience good results with functional neurology therapy. A condition such as dyslexia also may improve with this kind of treatment.
As with other chiropractic doctors, chiropractic neurologists use spinal adjustments when this is advisable. They also use therapies such as eye exercises, coordination practice, sensory training and cognitive exercises. The treatment, or combination of treatments, depends on the particular disorder. Some brain disorders do not respond well to medication, and surgery is not a suitable treatment for many brain-related conditions. A person with a brain tumor is likely to require surgery, but brain surgery is not normally considered for a problem such as PTSD.