Hello, everyone! Welcome to the Restorative Health Solutions blog!
We see a lot of patients struggling with chronic illnesses. We’ve helped people struggling with Crohn’s, Hypothyroidism, Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme’s disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Pain, Adrenal Fatigue, and many more health problems. We have three basic parts to any plan to get someone better. They include:
- Vitamins and Herbs
- Diet Changes
- Chiropractic Neurology/Functional Neurology
Most patients have no problem grasping number 1 or number 2. They’ve read about how chaste berry can help with hormone problems, or how turmeric can help with inflammation, or how CoQ10 can help with energy, or how magnesium can help with bowel problems, or how vitamin D can help with depression, or how ginseng is good for your adrenals, etc.
They have read all about food allergies or have heard of people who changed their diets and healed themselves. Some people go all raw, some all cooked, some low carb, some all carb, some vegetarian and some gluten-free. You’ll hear success stories from every single diet out there! However, not everyone responds the same, which is why you have endless kinds of diets out there.
The first two concepts, vitamins and diet, are easy for patients to grasp and understand. The third pillar, chiropractic neurology or functional neurology, is sometimes difficult for patients to understand why they need it or what value it holds. What is chiropractic neurology or functional neurology? Why is it important for you to get better?
Let’s go after the first question first. What is Chiropractic Neurology or Functional Neurology?
The founder of functional neurology (sometimes called chiropractic neurology) is Dr. Ted Carrick. He founded the Carrick Institute for Graduate Studies. Dr. Carrick has trained doctors like us all over the world. His knowledge is endless and has provided amazing results.
Functional Neurology builds on basic neuroscience and uses various strategies to help improve or re-establish optimal neurological processe. It is defined as “…the field of functional neurology that engages the internal and external environment of the individual in a structured and targeted approach to affect positive changes in the neuraxis and consequent physiology and behavior.” (www.acnb.org)
These interventions can include various sources of input through visual, physical, and other neurologic channels. Chiropractic adjustments enhance and promote optimal neurologic and physical function. Therapeutic goals are determined by a thorough examination, assessment, review of records and consultation with the patient and additional specialists as required.
If that was Greek to you, I’ll try and simplify. Your brain runs everything in your body. People who are sick likely have imbalances, in regards to function, in specific parts of their brain. One area of the brain may fire too fast and be out of control while another is running too slow. We try to bring balance (and thus healing) to the patient by applying very specific stimulation to the part of the brain that they need.
Let’s take a quick look at two examples of functions that are directly dependent on neurology. This will help us answer our second important question, Why is functional neurology important for my health?
Example 1: A healthy gut needs a healthy nervous system
One of the most important relationships between the gut and brain involves the frontal cortex and the vagal nuclei in the brainstem.
The frontal cortex is responsible for exciting the vagal nuclei in the brainstem
(from which stems the vagus nerve) to stimulate the gut to secrete
enzymes, contract for peristalsis, and to increase blood flow to the gut for constant repair of the
gastrointestinal tract. Would you like some research?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is now being considered a result of disturbed neural functioning along the brain-gut axis. Did you know that 50-90% of those who seek help for irritable bowel syndrome also have brain-based problems such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD? Another study shows that patients who had abnormal brain activity also had functional bowel disorders and chronic pain. In some of my favorite studies to date, it has been shown that traumatic brain injury can lead to several physiological complications, including gastrointestinal dysfunction and intestinal permeability (leaky gut). In an even more astounding study, we find that we can prevent intestinal permeability (leaky gut) in mice with traumatic brain injury if we stimulate the vagus nerve!
In summary of example one, we know from research that damage in the frontal lobes causes a leaky gut. What can we deduce happens in a patient who just has a poor functioning frontal lobe? Patients with poor functioning frontal lobes are typically depressed, can have low libido, have a difficult time with making decisions, and can be anxious. They can have difficulty planning, making judgments, or controlling their emotions and can have a temper. This is the genius in functional neurology! You have not had a stroke or an injury to the frontal lobe of your brain. You are not in a psychiatric hospital because that part of your brain is literally gone. Instead, in many patients that specific part of the brain is not functioning at an optimal level. That poor brain function is driving and perpetuating your health problems! To restore health you must do something to help the weak parts of your brain function at a higher level.
Example 2: Healthy adrenals need a healthy nervous system
When the adrenal glands malfunction, most patients experience symptoms like inability to fall asleep, inability to stay asleep, difficulty waking up in the morning, not feeling rested after sleep, not recovering from physical activity, a drop of energy in the afternoons, and blood sugar-related symptoms. Your adrenals are responsible for creating cortisol to help you handle stress and balance your blood sugar. They should also calm down in the evening as your body creates melatonin and gets you ready for sleep. This is a daily cycle and it is amazing how many interactions affect this. Your adrenals are controlled by your pituitary, which gets its signal from the hypothalamus which has in it cells called your paraventricular nucleus (PVN). The PVN cells receive signals from neurotransmitters like GABA, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, hormones like cortisol, and immune messengers like interleukin-1, 2, 6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As you can see from the picture, this whole adrenal system is run in the brain! The circadian rhythm is the control of the cortisol and melatonin in the daily cycle, which is also controlled by the brain!
Hopefully, we have convinced you that the health of your brain is a central piece to restoring your health. The next obvious question is how do I improve my brain health if it is not functioning at a high level or is imbalanced? Our next article will go over this in detail, but there are three basic things you need in order to have a healthy brain.
2. Healthy Blood Sugar
In conclusion, we work through what is called the neuro-endo-immune triad. Please read our other article on that topic specifically. but this basically means that we believe your body is connected. Your neurons, immune system, and endocrine system all talk to each other and each part is vital to address in order to for you to regain your health. It is about how we can fit the pieces together. We are not a neuro clinic, a hormone clinic, or a gut clinic. We are a “put-it-together” kind of clinic, but we find many people miss this very important neurological component in restoring the function of their body and, thus, their health.
At Restorative Health Solutions, we provide a unique approach to your health. We take on a personalized/individualized approach to each patient’s case. We pride ourselves on figuring out the “why” and are determined to find the underlying cause of dysfunction in our patients’ health and, therefore, help them heal. If you are interested in what functional neurology can do for you, please give us a call at 952-479-7801 for a free 15-minute phone consultation!