Functional Neurology: A brief summary introduction

When I was first introduced to functional neurology, it was overwhelming. My guess is that it would be overwhelming to someone who was not experiencing brain issues and to enter into it with having mental dysfunction just makes it worse. The terminology was different, the tools and techniques were different, and the way they thought about my injury was, different.

One of the first things that struck me during my first functional neurology appointment was the barrage of new terms the doctor uses in giving a neurological exam. During my first exam, I met with Dr Z and he did some simple neurological tests to see if I was a possible candidate for functional neurology and when words like saccade, cortex, and nystagmus all come pouring out and I was left scratching my head trying to make sense of it all.


A patient modeling video-electronystagmography goggles


Another factor was the tools and techniques used to evaluate my condition. While the technology has changed and gotten more sophisticated and detailed since I started doing functional neurology, the things they are measuring for remain similar. One of the most important things that they look at are eye movements and for that, I wore special goggles with built in cameras that are attached to a computer program the recorded my movements. Using the goggles made me feel like a deep sea diver. They also tested my balance using a sophisticated scale like device that when I stood on it, tracked my center of gravity.

Functional neurology also introduced me to the idea of neuroplasticity. For years, it was thought that the brain was stagnate and could not change. We now know that the brain is capable of significant changes in re-wiring and healing itself. This is at the core of functional neurology and what it has to offer. Dr Z explained how nerves can create new connections to replace lost ones and that it is possible to regain significant amounts of function, which I can now attest to!

Functional neurology, is really, a whole new world that is opening up to people who have suffered brain damage or who have neurological impairments. While it was overwhelming at first for me, I have grown to love it and to see the hope and restoration it offers!