Chiropractic Neurology or Functional Neurology is the application of neuroplasticity in a clinical setting. We utilize clinical neuroscientific research to aid in examining and treating dysfunction within the nervous system. We evaluate for sub-clinical subtleties which may become apparent or manifest prior to the degree of being considered a disease or condition. The brain is changeable and adaptable– It can be directly influenced by our awareness or by altering our environmental stimulus. When consistent stimulus is present, it strengthens and/or creates new neural pathways. The ability to change our brain or nervous system is known as neuroplasticity.
The brain integrates sensory input to produce purposeful movement, thought, and action. Sensory stimulus is introduced by various receptors in the body. Touch, sound, sight, digestion, pain, balance, movement, etc. all integrate in various regions of the nervous system, brain and brainstem via neural pathways. These senses are then processed to produce a meaningful response within the body which allow us to properly interact with the world around us.
The application of neuroplasticity in a clinical use allows us to promote growth and/or newer neural pathways in various regions of the brain or nervous system by increasing the use of particular regions and by strengthening pre-existing corresponding neural pathways. "Neurons that fire together, wire together."
The use of specific brain-based therapies can improve the integrity of targeted neural pathways. Similarly to a new road just paved: after years or damage, and without proper maintenance it weathers, cracks and breaks down. Maintenance crews must fix and improve the road, so it can be driven down smoothly and efficiently. Like this road, this is similar to what occurs with lack of genuine stimulus in our day to day. The more purposefully we perform our actions and are mindful of our thoughts and environments, the stronger our neural connections. While we cannot always regrow or create new neurons, we know that novel activity or stimulus can produce new connections by "rewiring" (axons, dendrites and synapses) and can improve the integrity of our nervous system, thus resulting in a better brain and improved quality of life.