Project Description

Functional Neurology is on the leading edge of Neuroscience and is an exciting approach to healthcare. We engage your brain and body, challenge and optimize your sensory-motor systems, and help you to perform at the best of your abilities.

In the human nervous system, every part performs a specific function or set of functions. Through careful assessment, a Functional Neurologist can not only determine which areas of a person’s nervous system are weak, but also devise an appropriate treatment to improve the quality of how their nervous system functions.

The Neuroplasticity Concept

A key concept in understanding Functional Neurology is “neuroplasticity”. Nerve connections in the brain are considered “plastic” because they can be shaped or modified by sensory, motor, cognitive or emotional experiences. Simply put, what you are exposed to can rewire your nervous system.

While this system was once considered “fixed” or unable to change after full maturity, we know that your brain is capable of remarkable change every day you are alive. Furthermore, a nerve cell can grow connections to new neurons (synaptogenesis) and can even extend to far reaching areas (neuronal migration).

Functional Neurology promotes healthy plasticity of the nervous system through proper stimulation and fuel delivery, as in blood circulation. Treatment is aimed at not only protecting the nervous system, but giving it the activation that it needs to thrive. We now know that even a nervous system that is functioning poorly can be rehabilitated, often with progressive and permanent success.

Schedule A Call


Dr. Ralph DeStephano
Dr. Ralph DeStephanoFunctional Neurologist
Dr. Lauren DeStephano
Dr. Lauren DeStephanoFunctional Neurologist

Specialized Diagnostic Tools

Each patient receives a comprehensive health history and examination, consisting of neurological, orthopedic, musculoskeletal and organ system evaluations.

Advanced neurological testing is used to evaluate the relay centers within the nervous system that govern and control all human functions.

Some of these tests include

  • videonystamography

  • computerized posturography

  • oculomotor testing

  • balance and coordinative tests

  • gait analysis

  • and much more

Chicago Neuro eyes

Initial Consult with a Functional Neurologist

The first goal of a Functional Neurologist is to be thorough and precise in identifying the areas of your nervous system that are dysfunctional. This will form the foundation for the individualized treatment plan best suited for your condition and your health goals.


Prior to your first visit, you should obtain a copy of any X-rays, CTs, MRIs, blood tests results etc. you have had. These reports will give the doctor a more complete picture of your care to date.

You will be asked about your history and overall current health.

This may include a description of:

  • Your present symptoms

  • The steps you have taken to manage your condition

  • Your personal and family medical history

  • Illnesses and traumas you may have experienced

  • Surgeries, hospitalizations and medical procedures you may have had

  • Medications and supplements you may be taking

  • Your diet and exercise habits

  • Your sleeping habits, daily activities, work routine, stress level and home life

Neurological Examination

The Functional Neurologist will then perform an examination focused on your nervous system and how it relates to the rest of your body. Please note that it is a good idea to wear comfortable clothes for your visit and that you may be asked to change into a gown.

Your exam may consist of:

  • Checking your blood pressure, pulse and breathing

  • Testing your reflexes, strength and sensations

  • Assessing your posture and balance

  • Analyzing how your body moves

  • Evaluating eye movements

From the information collected the doctor will determine if a Functional Neurology treatment is right for you or if your condition would be more appropriately managed by another health care professional.

Chicago Neuro eyes

Brain Based Rehabilitation

Cutting Edge Techniques:

  • Balance and vestibular rehabilitation

  • Light, sound, smell and touch stimulations

  • Eye exercises

  • Cognitive training

  • Specific adjustments to the joints

Dr. Ralph DeStephano Chiropractic Neurologist


Dr. Ralph Destephano was formally trained to perform these baseline tests by Dr. Ted Carrick, a leading researcher and clinician in brain injury rehabilitation.

Did you know:

  • One out of every 10 athletes will experience a concussion during any given sport season

  • Less than 10% of concussions result in a loss of consciousness (seeing stars, blacking out, etc.)

  • 78% of all concussions occur during games, as opposed to practices.

  • One out of 2 athletes DO NOT report feeling ANY symptoms after receiving a concussion.

  • In some cases, undiagnosed and untreated concussions can result in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and swelling of the brain (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE)

Concussion Baseline Evaluation

A concussion causes damage to the brain effecting an individual’s eye movements, balance, spatial orientation, speed, accuracy, endurance, reaction time, thought, emotion, and overall health.

Proper testing should be performed to establish an individual’s baseline integrity in each of these domains. This is the benefit of a Concussion Baseline Evaluation.  Dr. DeStephano was formally trained to perform baseline testing through the Carrick Institute.

Dr. Ralph DeStephano


Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback. Using non-invasive electrodes, it is used to monitor and train brain function.  Electrodes (basically tiny microphones) are placed on the client’s scalp to record and amplify the EEG, or brainwaves and control auditory, visual, and/or tactile feedback which allows learning to take place. This learning initiates self-regulation and enhances relaxation, both necessary components of good brain function.

Did you know:

  • In biofeedback, the electrodes only “listen” to your brain waves.

  • Using biofeedback, you can learn how to change physiological activity to improve health and performance

  • Neurofeedback can also be used non-clinically for peak performance training, baseline data for sports players in case of head trauma/injury, certain sleep issues, and to track changes in brain function as a result of medication.

How does neurofeedback work?

Neurofeedback targets the underlying dysregulation in brain activity that can exacerbate and sometimes cause clinical symptoms. Neurofeedback can induce neurophysiological resilience with the induction of brain flexibility, relaxation, and a steadier central nervous system. For example, if one’s state of neuroanatomy and physiological health is over-stimulated or under-aroused, mental illnesses, with various symptoms may manifest behaviorally, psychologically, emotionally, and/or physically. Such disorders as anxiety and depression may have a base in neurophysiology which consequently can be targeted for training. A brain with greater flexibility has the capacity to more healthily adapt to challenging life situations.

During a neurofeedback session, clients usually report feeling relaxed. Clients sit in a comfortable chair and listen to sounds and/or play a video game on a computer screen using their brain to direct the action. When the desired brain wave state is achieved, the game continues and points are accumulated. It’s easy and fun. Remember, nothing is being put into your brain. We are simply “listening” to your brain wave activity through sensors, much like a doctor listening to your heart with a stethoscope, and feeding the information back to you. For this reason, it is known as “Neurofeedback.”



Patient Care at Chicago Neuro

After my first session I slept through the night for the first time in my life.


I feel like there’s been a huge improvement

Patient Care at Chicago Neuro

My son came off his his migraine meds in only 2 weeks


Schedule A Call

Contact us today to find out more information or arrange a 15 minute phone consult with one of our doctors to better answer any questions you may have about functional neurology and how it may help you.

    Our Spring Grove Location!

    Location: 2100 N. US Hwy 12 Suite 101, Spring Grove, IL 60081
    Phone: (815) 675-0675
    Fax: (815) 675-9836

    Visit Our Chicago Location!

    Location: 30 S Michigan Ave. Suite #302, Chicago, IL 60603
    Phone: (312) 767.3500
    Fax: (815) 675-9836