There are many misconceptions about Functional Neurologists and Chiropractors. The primary myth is that Functional Neurologist/Chiropractors only work on backs. These specialists spend many years learning the intricacies of the human body, and they are afforded many options for post-graduate training.
More than 3 million cases of concussion are reported each year in the United States, with victims ranging in age from the very young to the very old. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury resulting from a serious blow to the head where the brain and head are remarkably jarred.
Comprehensive Assessment of Postural Systems (CAPS) unit
A diagnostic tool to test for postural stability and the risk of falling:
The CAPS Unit creators have a notable philosophy on their website that states, “You can’t help balance patients if you don’t know who they are.”
Dr. Austin is the only practitioner in Boulder County who uses a CAPS Unit to test for postural stability and risk of falling.
The test is usually performed on the patient’s initial evaluations. Patients are tested for balance by standing on a computerized plate, and then a four-inch foam pad, with eyes open and closed. This information helps us understand more about core muscle stability, inner ear function and brain function.
The foam represents an unsteady surface like sand or carpet. Then, a balance therapy plan can be made for someone who has a moderate-to-severe balance problem.
The CAPS unit is instrumental in giving baseline tests and then benchmark tests, as the patients uses rehabilitation strategies and returns for frequent checks. With these tests, Dr. Austin is able to bring the patient back and show them objectively how much they have improved based on the data.
One way to tell that a patient is truly healing from a concussion is to check their balance several times over several weeks.
The CAPS Unit can help identify problems, like the elderly at risk of falling or an athlete with a possible concussion, where other methods may not have identified the risk. Many neurological, vestibular (inner ear) and postural problems may not have obvious symptoms, which is why we screen most of our patients with the device, in order to identify underlying risks.
We have the same philosophy as the CAPS Unit creators, which is “to help improve the quality of life for those who have balance problems as well as those at risk of having balance problems.” The CAPS Unit is a product of Vestibular Technologies, LLC. Find out more information at https://www.vestibtech.com/AboutUs.html).
Interactive Metronome (IM)
Measure and treat hand-eye coordination and brain timing:
Interactive Metronome (IM) is both a diagnostic and treatment modality that measures the brain’s ability to synchronize neural impulses.
More simply put, it measures hand-eye-foot coordination and brain timing.
Timing is huge in life. Think about how timing plays a part of your every day. If you clap at a child’s recital and you are early or late, it is obvious. If you punch the brake on your car too early or late, you could get in an accident. When you play sports, you use the timing between your brain, hands, and feet to hit or catch a ball, or to make a goal.
Timing is not just related to physical function; it is vital for cognition, speech, eye movements, and many other functions. Your brain is at peak performance when it is timing itself effectively and accurately.
The Interactive Metronome tests a patient by having the patient watch a visual flashing light, listen to an audible sound, and use a hand sensor or footpad to keep time with the auditory beat and visual stimulus. The computer records the milliseconds to which the patient is early or late with the beat of the sound and flashing light.
An abnormal sound also tells the patient how far off they are from the correct metronome cadence. With this data, Dr. Austin designs brain training exercises for the patients with and without the machine, to improve their reaction times and thus, the synchronization of their neural impulses.
ADHD Children and Common Timing Problems
Think about an ADHD child, whose accelerator (left brain) is often in overdrive and who doesn’t know how to use the brake (R brain) to slow down. This is a timing problem. Students in the classroom must look and listen to their teacher and then take notes either on paper or computer. That is multi-modal learning and is critical to the way the brain works. But sometimes, these kids find it difficult to process both the auditory and visual stimulus simultaneously due to faulty brain timing.
When Interactive Metronome is utilized, it teaches the child to slow down or speed up as needed based on the training program. Using IM, patients can program their cognitive function and physical movement to auditory and visual stimuli more efficiently.
Concussion, aging and vertigo and the IM system
The IM system also works well for concussion, aging, or vertigo patients who are having timing problems who perhaps cannot see very well, have brain fog or fatigue or may have sound or light sensitivity. This is where Dr. Austin can be of assistance to people who may have been through a program with their therapist or doctor and they’ve improved to a certain level, but they still don’t feel like themselves.
Our office can help you take the next step towards a better quality of life and get you to where you want to be.
Besides being an in office treatment tool, the Interactive Metronome system can also be purchased for home use. The software is loaded on your home computer, then you plug in the unit, paired with a hand sensor and footpad.
Dr. Austin programs the system by email, and then the patient can use prescribed programs that include eye exercises, balance therapies, and meditations to calm the sympathetic nervous system.
When people get a recommendation to see a Chiropractic Neurologist, often their response is “but I don’t have back issues!” This is a common misconception because a Chiropractic Neurologists’ post-doctoral training allows them to treat much more than just the back or neck pain. If you have
Declining brain function
or a History of head trauma with a concussion (TBI)
then we want to help you return to optimal functionality. For example, have you ever had a concussion that caused you to take off work for a couple weeks and upon heading back to work something felt out of the ordinary?
You may have been more forgetful, been more susceptible to brain or body fatigue, had some gut dysfunction, confusion, or loss of focus and concentration. We evaluate and treat these issues very differently than the traditional Chiropractor. We can also give you objective markers of clinical improvement with our advanced treatment modalities to show you that your brain function has improved.
Our specialty here at Austin Functional Wellness in Louisville, CO is Functional Neurology.
While most Chiropractors seek to treat a person’s back problems through spinal manipulation; and medical doctors work with diagnosing and treating the pathological side of medical issues—such as infections, concussions with bleeding in the brain, or broken bones—we work with more functional aspects of the central nervous system.
Examples include finding the hidden causes of
to name a few. We teach the brain and the rest of the body to work in unison again like a well-trained orchestra.
When a patient has a concussion, they often go to a medical doctor to get an MRI or CT scan or to get their eyes and balance checked. The doctor might say, “Yes, you have a concussion so don’t use TV, computers or phones for a couple weeks.” The patient may be given two weeks off from work and while resting at home may help them feel better, often symptoms will persist and then return upon going back to work.
Standardized concussion protocols can make patients feel improved. However, often patients don’t feel completely back to normal when they are not given individualized protocols to address their specific needs.
Evaluate Each Patient’s Unique Cognitive and Brain Dysfunction
At Austin Functional Wellness, Dr. Austin evaluates each patient’s unique dysfunction. The individualized program is often what is needed for recovery since every concussion or brain issue is different. An important thing to remember is that eye movement function is reflexively (unconsciously) connected to core spinal muscle function, balance and cognitive function.
Some of our tests include a high-level balance test (CAPS), eye movement function testing including pursuits/tracking, saccades, gaze holding, optokinetics, a cognitive test, gait evaluation, brain timing test called Interactive Metronome and blood testing to try and find hidden sources of inflammation.
The evaluation of eye movement performance includes having the patient track a moving finger in front of the eyes in vertical, horizontal and diagonal planes. If the eyes move smoothly to one side but is jerky to the other, then exercises will be given to the patient to strengthen the weaker, jerky side.
Standardized protocols usually offer exercises to both sides which doesn’t address the weaker side or fix the asymmetrical function. When a more individualized approach is needed, a Functional Neurologist can really help.
Individual Program for Rehabilitation at Austin Functional Wellness
After evaluating the patient’s brain and body function, we will institute an individualized program of rehabilitation. If patients do not strengthen the weaker, less functional side or get rid of the hidden sources of inflammation, then brain and body can remain dysfunctional leading to further loss of quality of life.
At Austin Functional Wellness, we don’t perform surgery or prescribe medication, but we can partner with your medical treatments to treat the dysfunction that comes from many pathological conditions and the surgical and pharmaceutical side effects.
For example, we can help work on the balance issues of a person with Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease. Our goal at Austin Functional Wellness is to pinpoint the areas of central or peripheral nerve dysfunction and work with patients to rebuild those areas, as well as educate patients in the importance of prevention to prevent further dysfunction and loss of quality of life.
If you want better memory, attention and focus, increased mental processing speed, and less brain fatigue—give our unique treatment protocols a try.