The Role of Functional Neurology in Treating Equilibrium Problems

The field of Functional Neurology offers a new and effective approach to treating equilibrium and inner ear disorders.

Instead of mitigating the symptoms, Functional Neurology focuses on treating the underlying cause of the disease.

In the case of disequilibrium, the root of the problem is in the brain. In order to understand this, we must first understand what gives us the ability to balance.

Balance and Equilibrium

The body’s ability to maintain balance is quite complex. Your brain receives information from your eyes, muscles, and the gyroscope mechanism in your inner ear.

Once the brain has interpreted this data, it instructs the body on how to move in order to maintain your upright position. In order to adapt to the everyday shifts in our sense of spatial direction, we need a well-functioning balance and vestibular system.

Dizziness, nausea, wooziness, and the sensation of movement are all symptoms of balance disorders.

These symptoms can be alleviated by medication or surgery. We are in balance when our spine, muscles, and brain communicate correctly. One side of our back’s spinal stabilizing muscles is stretched or triggered when we sway to one side.

During a sway to the left, the cerebellum on the right sends a signal to the left cortex, which interprets this information and sends it back to the right side.

Corticospinal pathways in the left cortex send impulses to the right side, which then pulls the larger spinal and pelvic muscles together to bring us back to the center, a process known as balancing.

Without this crucial communication, balance and equilibrium will be compromised, triggering a host of inconvenient and uncomfortable symptoms. 

Commonly associated symptoms of equilibrium problems include vertigo, dizziness or lightheadedness, blurry vision, loss of balance, spatial awareness issues, sensation of disconnectedness, and gait disturbance such as walking abnormally or feeling as if you sway to one side.

Causes for Equilibrium Problems

Because the balance system contains so many interrelated components, it is not unexpected that there are literally hundreds of different causes of balance issues, but the causes can be classified into three major types.

Central Nervous System Damage:

Any condition that disrupts the proper functioning of the central nervous system might create balance issues. Reduced blood supply to the brain owing to a stroke or a chronic condition, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, seizures, cerebellar diseases, hydrocephalus, acoustic neuromas, and brain tumors are all possible causes.

Head or Inner Ear Trauma:

Trauma can harm the structures of your inner ear, such as striking your head hard enough to induce concussion or injuring your neck in a fall while playing sports or in a car accident. The peripheral vestibular system, which helps you maintain your balance, is housed in the inner ear. Significant inner ear damage can result in infections or abscesses (viral or bacterial), blood circulation abnormalities affecting the inner ear or brain, migraine-associated dizziness (with or without headache), benign positional vertigo, and traumatic inner ear dysfunction caused by falls or whiplash.

Miscellaneous Causes:

As we get older, our vestibular function deteriorates. In addition, the aged typically have a decline in vision, proprioception (sense of placement), muscular and bone strength, and brain function. All of these changes, when combined, frequently result in a gradually growing sense of imbalance. Meniere’s illness, pharmaceutical interactions (polypharmacy), labyrinthitis, and vestibular neuronitis are some of the other causes.

What is Functional Neurology?

Functional neurology focuses on treating a wide spectrum of neurological diseases.

Functional neurologists, who may have subspecialties, treat patients with brain injuries, degenerative diseases (such as dementia), movement abnormalities, or any other neurological disease or disorder that traditional doctors have been unable to discover and treat satisfactorily.

Functional neurology does not include the use of surgery or conventional medications but may employ chiropractic manipulation, and other forms of therapy, and recommend changes in lifestyle in order to treat underlying causes.

Functional Neurology is a type of rehabilitation based on neurological principles and aimed at reprogramming the cells and connections of the nervous system.

The stimulation of the brain impacts various neurotransmitter systems and promotes the development of new neurons, blood vessels, and connections within the brain and spinal cord.

Neuropsychology is a health care specialty that focuses on the neuroplasticity, integrity, and functional improvement of the human nervous system through the use of both sensory and cognitive-based therapy.

The concepts of neuroplasticity underpin functional neurology. We now know that the brain and nervous system may change and adapt in response to stimuli.

Emotional and cognitive experiences have the ability to modify the brain. The stimuli that a person encounters cause their nervous system to form new synapses.

As more stimuli are supplied to neurons, those that aren’t getting them weaken and eventually die. Nervous system damage can be healed by regenerating new neurons.

What can Functional Neurology do to treat balance and equilibrium problems?

Traditionally, a physical therapist or an audiologist is usually in charge of vestibular therapy.

Crystals in the patient’s ear cause balance issues (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV). Additionally, typical therapies are designed to reset the crystals in the ear. The patient is then given a set of vestibular exercises to undertake.

Functional Neurology uses a more modern and neuroscientific approach to vertigo, dizziness, and balance problems via Neurological brain-based vestibular illness treatment.

For at least the last ten years, neuroscience communities have known that 80 percent or more of balance difficulties begin in the brain. 

The cerebellum, the part at the base of the brain that also helps with precision, coordination, and timing of motor actions, governs much of balance.

The cerebellum is one of the most constantly busy parts of the brain since it not only keeps you upright but also analyzes information from gravity.

A healthy cerebellum is critical for overall excellent brain health and function because it constantly transmits a steady stream of information to the entire brain.

This is where issues can arise. When cerebellar function begins to deteriorate, resulting in symptoms such as deteriorating balance, it affects the flow of information to the rest of the brain.

A healthy cerebellum, for example, manages this stream of information so that it does not flood the brain. When the cerebellum degenerates, it can overload the brain with information.

This can cause issues in other areas of the brain, resulting in symptoms that appear to be unrelated to balance, such as restless leg syndrome, tinnitus, hypersensitivity to stress, sadness, exhaustion, anxiety, and many more.

These are symptoms that the brain is malfunctioning and degenerating too quickly, raising the chance of dementia or Parkinson’s disease later in life.

The severity and type of vestibular dysfunction symptoms might vary greatly.

As a result, symptoms can be scary and difficult to define. People suffering from vestibular disorders may be seen as being inattentive, lethargic, unduly worried, or looking for attention.

As a result, individuals may struggle to read or do simple math. It may be difficult to function at work, go to school, complete a routine chore, or even get out of bed.

There are numerous disorders associated with disequilibrium, but by pinpointing the signaling abnormalities, we can diagnose and design a therapy strategy to restore normal communication patterns.

This could be due to improper spinal stretching, or it could be due to the vestibular system and cerebellum, which control balance and coordination, not processing information correctly.

It is frequently at our superior colliculus and parietal lobe spatial mapping regions that we are unable to understand suitable feedback.

There are numerous places that could be at fault, but with careful, complete evaluation, we can accurately evaluate the origin of your ailment and work to correct it.

Summary

  • Your eyes, muscles, and inner ear gyroscope feed your brain information. After interpreting this input, the brain tells the body how to stay upright. Balance and vestibular systems help us adjust to daily alterations in spatial orientation.
  • Balance issues cause dizziness, nausea, wooziness, and movement. Medication or surgery can relieve these symptoms. When our spine, muscles, and brain connect, we’re balanced. When we wobble, one side of our spinal stabilizing muscles is strained. During a left sway, the right cerebellum sends a signal to the left brain, which interprets it.  Without this connection, balance and equilibrium are impaired, causing uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Causes of equilibrium problems can be classified into three major types: Central Nervous System Damage, Head or Inner Ear Trauma, and miscellaneous causes.
  • Functional neurology treats brain disorders, brain injuries, degenerative diseases (such as dementia), movement anomalies, and other neurological problems without the use of surgery or typical medicines, but may use chiropractic manipulation and other methods.
  • Functional Neurology reprogrammes nervous system cells and connections. Brain stimulation stimulates new neurons, blood vessels, and brain-spinal cord connections. Neuropsychology uses sensory and cognitive therapy to improve the nervous system’s function.
  • Functional Neurology uses a neuroscientific approach to treat vertigo, dizziness, and balance issues. Neuroscience has known for at least a decade that 80% of balance problems start in the brain.
  • By identifying signaling irregularities, we can diagnose and treat disequilibrium disorders and restore normal communication patterns. The vestibular system and cerebellum, which control balance and coordination, may not be processing information appropriately. We often can’t grasp feedback in the superior colliculus and parietal lobe. With meticulous, complete evaluation, we can precisely determine the cause of your ailment and treat it.