Chiropractic Neurology

by Martin Rutherford, D.C.

Chiropractic Neurology, also termed Functional Neurology, involves stimulating areas (lobes) of the brain or peripheral nervous system (that of the hands and legs) that have been shown to be under activated and not performing well during a thorough functional neurological exam. The process of stimulating specific brain cells (neurons) to enable them to “heal” and perform their duties properly is analogous to strengthening a weak muscle through weight training. Strengthening and stabilizing brain and nervous system neurons is possible due to a property of brain cells referred to as neuroplasticity, which was developed during the 1980’s and the 1990’s (the 1990’s has been declared the “decade of the brain”). Neuroplasticity is the ability of poorly functioning brain cells (from stress, injury, drugs disease, stroke, metabolic imbalances, etc.) to become stronger in their connection to nearby brain cells and start working properly again by directly strengthening weak neurons of the brain with “exercises”. The correct exercises are determined by that person’s neurological exam findings indicating the exact areas of the brain that require “strengthening”. The part of the brain affected dictates which exercises are to be performed. The Functional Neurologist make the correct neurological diagnoses, then employs non-drug treatment (exercise and electrical stimulation strategies aimed at activating the above mentioned specific areas of the brain and peripheral neurons) Once these parts of the brain “strengthen” or start firing properly symptoms caused by the malfunctioning part of the brain resolve or greatly improve. This brain based etiology (cause) of chronic pain is by far the most under-appreciated contributor to today’s disease and chronic pain syndromes. Long term improvement or resolution of brain and nervous system function is vital to the success of our or any chronic pain program.