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What is a chiropractic neurologist?

  A:  As in medicine and dentistry, the chiropractic profession has specialists in Radiology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, and Neurology to name a few. A chiropractic neurologist is a licensed chiropractic physician who has completed an additional three-year course of study in clinical neurology, including coursework and clinical training, and has passed a comprehensive certification examination administered by the American Chiropractic Neurology Board. Chiropractic neurologists have the option to pursue additional subspecialty training in Electrodiagnostics, Vestibular Disorders, and Child Developmental Disorders to name a few. Currently, there are less than 1000 board-certified chiropractic neurologists in the world.  A better fitting term for a chiropractic neurologist is "functional neurologist" due to the comprehensive training in understanding neurological function and applying functional treatment applications

What is the difference between a DC and MD neurologist?

A:  A chiropractic neurologist is qualified to evaluate, diagnose, and treat a wide range of nervous system disorders much like a medical neurologist. However, one essential difference between the two is that the therapeutic applications prescribed by a chiropractic neurologist do not include drugs or surgery but, rather, are functionally-based. Chiropractic neurologists specialize in the non-invasive evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of functional brain and nervous system disorders.  As such, chiropractic neurologists receive extensive training in evaluating the functional state of the nervous system in its entirety.  Medical and chiropractic neurologists oftentimes co-manage patient cases, with chiropractic neurologists helping the patient decrease their dependency on medication or prevent surgery.

What types of conditions are treated by a chiropractic neurologist?

A:  Typical conditions treated by chiropractic neurologists include a variety of functional brain and nervous system dysfunctions, movement disorders including dystonia, balance disorders including dizziness and vertigo, stroke,brain injury, chronic pain, herniated disc, radiculopathy or nerve entrapment, certain types of seizures, head and face pain including migraine, and child developmental disorders including attentional, neuro behavioral disorders, such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), Asperger's syndrome, autism, and other learning disorders. In addition to providing evaluations and non-invasive treatments, chiropractic neurologists can provide counseling about diagnostic dilemmas and offer advice about the appropriateness of care a patient may be receiving.

These are just a few conditions that may respond to a chiropractic neurological approach. Chiropractic Neurology certainly cannot cure all who suffer from these conditions, but many do improve, and some profoundly.

What types of treatment are offered by chiropractic neurologist?
  A:  Treatment by chiropractic neurologists is considered non-invasive and applied without prescription drugs or surgery. Typically, chiropractic neurologists will mainly treat brain and nervous system dysfunction specifically with adjustments or manipulation of joint and muscle dysfunctions of the spine in particular. Other treatment modalities utilized to activate the nervous system include specifically applied visual, auditory, vestibular, balance, postural, and cognitive applications to name a few. The treatment is usually designed to promote brain and nervous system plasticity according to the individual’s nervous system dysfunction.

How do chiropractic neurologists change the function of the nervous system?

 A:  Understand that about 90% of the sensory information to the brain and nervous system is derived from the joints and muscles. So chiropractic neurologists begin there. As such, if an individual has joint and muscle dysfunction, there is a high probability that it will eventually affect the nervous system in a detrimental way, especially if chronic.

Joints and muscles contain sense receptors called proprioceptors and are sensitive to touch, pressure, tension, and movement. Proprioceptors mainly send unconscious sensation to the brain so as to allow the brain to know where your body parts are and what they are doing, even if one is not paying attention or aware.

All of the sense receptors are connected to nerves which, in turn, connect to the "main central processor" of the nervous system - the brain.  As sensory information is routed through the nervous system, it alters the function and structure of the brain on an ongoing basis. This process is known as plasticity. The brain then uses the sensory information to regulate the body by sending instructions back to all body parts. Essentially, all of the sense receptors from the joints and muscles and nerves, combined with the brain and nervous system, forms a single integrated system in constant communication with itself and the environment.

What is plasticity of the brain and nervous system?
   A:   The past decade has resulted in an explosion of brain and nervous system information.  Until recently, the brain was once thought to be fully developed and entirely unchangeable.  However, new research pertaining to plasticity has proven otherwise.  As such, the brain is not only highly changeable during the developing infant and child stages, but also throughout adulthood as well.

Plasticity essentially involves the growth of nerve cell branches called dendrites.  Think of healthy tree branches with buds and you have a great picture of nerve cell dendrites.  If the nerve cell is properly stimulated, either by movement, light, sound, balancing, etc., then nerve cell branches grow and create stronger nerve cell communication networks within the brain and nervous system, thereby equating to faster brain processing power among other things.  On the other hand, should the nerve cell not be appropriately stimulated, then overtime, the nerve cell branching and networks decrease and wither down, thus decreasing processing speed of the brain among other things. 

Chiropractic neurologists, as functional neurologists, specialize in evaluating the functional state of the brain and nervous system non-invasively and in real-time.  What is more, they specialize in non-invasive therapeutic applications designed to promote nerve cell plasticity from infancy to adults.
 

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