Functional Neurology is a specialty within the chiropractic profession that consists of a 3 year post-grad course of study designed to improve the practitioner’s knowledge and skill level in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. It requires passing rigorous national board exams to become a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist. The goal of functional neurology is to strengthen the electrical circuits of the brain thus improving functional integration to both sides of the brain and between the upper brain (cortex) and lower brain (brain stem). Treatment by a highly trained Functional Neurologist uses non-invasive exercises (Interactive Metronome, NeuroSensorimotor Integrator, balance therapies, eye movement therapy aka oculomotor exercises, sensorimotor stimulation, light and sound therapy, etc) to electrically stimulate some parts of the brain while reducing the activity in others. This functional neurological method can help improve sensory and motor function, balance and coordination of movement, brain processing speed, memory, cognitive and emotional function, thus increasing the neuroplasticity (the positive changes in brain pathways) that leads to a stronger, more resilient, and higher level of brain function.
Functional neurological disorders can occur at any time and for a variety of reasons. It is often under-diagnosed by the medical profession and can go untreated for years as patients may not have reached the threshold for symptoms that align with a specific medical diagnosis. Often patients feel “lousy” for months to years before they reach out for help. Sometimes people just decide to “live with it”. ADHD and Autism are disorders with significant functional imbalances and can last a lifetime. However, these disorders can improve dramatically with appropriate therapeutic intervention. Concussions are functional in nature since you can’t diagnose them with a blood test or MRI or any other standard test. It is diagnosed through symptoms and evaluating functional deficits like cognitive function, balance and eye movements. Post concussive syndrome can last for years. These are just a couple of the functional disorders that highly trained Functional Neurologists treat.
The Chiropractic Functional Neurologist completes a variety of exams/assessments (1-2 hours) and then creates a treatment plan that could include non-invasive and non-prescription treatment options like lifestyle changes or nutritional approaches with specific vitamin or dietary protocols. Unique and targeted therapeutic brain and body exercises can help bring balance to the electrical circuitry of the brain and restore better function. Remember the brain is like an orchestra with many different parts that need to work together to make “good music”.
It is important to understand the difference between the symptoms of a pathological disease process like Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and functional disorders of balance caused by faulty vestibular system, undiagnosed inflammatory conditions, bad timing, injury or surgery of the lower extremity, chronic dehydration, bad diet/nutrition, poor conditioning or lack of balance. PD should be treated medically but the functional deficits associated with PD can be effectively treated with Functional Neurology approaches. Treating the underlying cause of the symptoms the patient is experiencing is often helpful in eliminating many issues from the patient’s life. Many patients with neurological conditions like PD cannot be “cured”, but the symptoms of dysfunction (e.g. balance issues) can be effectively managed.

Pain is a complex sensory process that is largely controlled by the brain, that is, the brain can sense pain and can then send electrical messages to inhibit pain in the body. If your brain isn’t working well then pain can be elevated in the body. Chiropractic Functional Neurologists have unique specialized training in how to treat pain. Inflammation also is a major cause of pain in the body so identifying the hidden causes of inflammation can help with treatment. Dr. Austin is an expert at treating inflammatory and pain conditions.

Chiropractors are highly trained in diagnosis of spinal conditions during their 4 years of Chiropractic school. This includes hundreds of hours focused on learning methods of manual manipulation of the spine and other areas including the shoulders, arms and legs. These treatments are safe and effective for most people. The chiropractor will always assess the patient first before determining if chiropractic spinal manipulation is appropriate for the individual.
ADHD is diagnosed by identifying a persistent pattern of specific behaviors in children or adults. There is no specific blood test or other types of medical tests available for a diagnosis.

The specific causes of ADHD are not completely understood or agreed upon. Research has shown there is a link between genetics, premature birth, substance abuse, or extreme stress by the mother during the pregnancy and the diagnosis of ADHD. ADHD is very likely linked to many different influences (multifactorial causes) which could also include hidden or unknown nutritional deficiencies or food sensitivities, and other sources of chronic inflammation like hidden or unknown infections.

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is classified as a mental disorder that causes difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It can be diagnosed in children or adults.

ADHD can be classified as inattentive type, hyperactive type, or combined type. The classification is based on the specific symptoms reported and observed for at least six months prior to the diagnosis.