Chiropractic Functional Neurology
Chiropractic functional neurology is a post-doctoral certification obtained through the Carrick Institute of Graduate Studies. The technique was started over 30 years ago by Dr. Ted Carrick, who utilized a brain-based, scientific approach in caring for complex conditions. A chiropractic neurologist uses the patient’s body and environment to assess, diagnose and localize areas of dysfunction within the nervous system. These areas of dysfunction affect the human body in a myriad of ways, resulting in a vast array of symptoms. We use a functional and holistic approach to rehab the areas of dysfunction with specific interventions. Modalities of intervention include chiropractic adjustments coupled with receptor- and/or sensory-based modalities to improve dysfunctional areas of the nervous system, thus improving the quality of life for patients.
Becoming a chiropractic neurologist involves completing over 300 post-doctoral hours of coursework in functional neurology. Once these are obtained, the doctor must then pass a rigorous written and performance exam certified by the American Chiropractic Neurology Board (ACNB). In order to pass the exam, doctors must spend many more additional hours studying and preparing to meet the demands of becoming a Diplomate of American Chiropractic Neurology Board.
The ACNB is the sole specialty board recognized by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). The ACNB is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which is known for being one of the top-quality accrediting agencies in the nation.
What to Expect as a Patient
Each patient undergoes a detailed history and examination, including a full neurologic workup and a test of the patient’s musculoskeletal and sensory systems. Patients also undergo a Visual Eyes evaluation that records the eye movements that are required to function during day-to-day activities. Next, a patient’s vestibular/balance system is evaluated with the HUMAC system to obtain quantitative data, such as fall risk assessment. Additional cognitive testing (IMPACT testing) and a metabolic assessment may be obtained based on the individual’s needs.
Diagnosis and Evaluation
Once the exam has been performed, the doctor will compile the various information obtained in order to provide the patient with knowledge of which area(s) of the patient’s nervous system is/are dysfunctional. This diagnosis is what differentiates a chiropractic neurologist from other practitioners. The exam allows the doctor to localize the area of dysfunction to the following areas: cortex, basal ganglia, brainstem, cerebellum, spinal cord, peripheral nerve and/or end organ receptor. Additional considerations include: infectious diseases, autoimmune issues, vascular problems, inflammation issues and/or cellular failure.
Patient Care and Treatment
Treatment is a receptor-based therapy that includes using a diverse array of techniques to promote neuroplasticity in the dysfunctional areas of the nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments are combined with specific functional therapy, which may include: physical exercises, eye exercises, cognitive tasks, peripheral nerve stimulation, balance exercises, kinesiotaping, timing exercises, primitive reflex remediations and light, sound or smell stimulation. Each therapy is targeted to the individual’s needs based on their diagnosis.
Evidence Based Care
Due to the unique approach of chiropractic functional neurology, many people wonder how it works and what kind of evidence supports it. One of the main factors supporting our work is basic clinical neuroanatomy and the functional pathways of the human nervous system. If someone cannot feel their left foot, for example, then the issue may be in the nerve itself, the spinal cord, the brainstem or the cortex. Other aspects of dealing with dysfunctional areas of the nervous system are supported by the papers linked in the right column.