Functional Neurology for FND (Functional Neurological Disorder)

Modern testing and assessment facilities are available at Spring Grove Physical Medicine for Functional Neurological disorders, along with cutting-edge rehabilitation methods that will improve your health and quality of life. Functional Neurology for FND is proven effective and safe.

Instead of a structural disease process like multiple sclerosis or stroke, a functional neurological disorder (FND) is a medical illness where there is a problem with the nervous system’s operation and how the brain and body send and/or receive signals. Many other neurological symptoms, including limb weakness and seizures, can be part of FND.

The disorder known as FND sits on the border between the fields of neurology and psychiatry. In people with FND, standard diagnostics including EEGs and MRI brain scans are typically normal. Due to this, the illness had historically received only moderate attention from academics and doctors. But it is now known that FND is a widespread source of impairment and discomfort, which may coexist with other issues including chronic pain and exhaustion. Positive research suggests that FND might be treatable with specially formulated therapies. A general shift in perception of those with FND is being brought about by new scientific findings affecting how patients are identified and treated.

The precise prevalence of FND is unknown. However, according to research, FND accounts for one-sixth of diagnoses and is the second most frequent neurological outpatient reason after headaches/migraine. This indicates that FND is just as prevalent as MS or Parkinson’s disease.

FND can strike anyone at any time, however, it rarely occurs in children under the age of 10. For the majority of symptoms, FND is more likely to impact women than males, but when patients present beyond age 50, it affects both groups equally.

Since the middle of the 2000s, theories that FND is “all psychological” and that a diagnosis is only determined when a patient has normal test results have evolved. The new knowledge, which includes contemporary neuroscientific studies, has demonstrated that FND is not an exclusive diagnosis. It is a condition of the functioning of the neurological system with unique clinical aspects that necessitates many viewpoints. These differ greatly from one person to another. Psychological elements are significant in some people but not in others.

Functional Neurological Disorder Signs and Symptoms

Patients with FND may experience a wide variety and combination of somatic, sensory, and/or cognitive symptoms. The most typical ones are:

Functional movement disorders such as tremors, spasms (dystonia), jerky movements (myoclonus), and difficulty walking are examples of motor dysfunction (gait disorder)

  • Symptoms of functional speech, such as whispering (dysphonia), slurred or stuttering speech

Functional sensory disturbances, such as numbness, tingling, or pain in the face, chest, or limbs, are examples of sensory dysfunction. Functional visual symptoms, such as vision loss or double vision, are frequently present on one side of the body.

Awareness-altering episodes

  • Blackouts, faints, and dissociative (non-epileptic) seizures: These symptoms can coexist and resemble epileptic seizures or faints (syncope)

Symptoms frequently change and may differ from day to day or be constant. Significant or even total remission in certain FND patients may be followed by abrupt relapses of symptoms.

Patients with FND frequently experience additional physical and psychological symptoms, albeit these may not always be present. These include: persistent discomfort, exhaustion, sleep issues, memory issues, bowel and bladder issues, anxiety, and depression.


Functional Neurological Disorder Causes

Though the precise cause of FND is unknown, continuing research is beginning to offer theories about how and why it arises. Patients may be particularly vulnerable to FND for a variety of reasons, including having another neurological disorder, or dealing with chronic pain, exhaustion, or stress. Some FND sufferers, however, do not have any of these risk factors.

According to studies, there may be triggering factors such as physical injury, infectious disease, panic attack, or migraine at the moment FND starts that can cause someone to first notice the symptoms. Usually, these symptoms go away on their own. However, in FND, the symptoms “stick” in a neural system “pattern.” This “pattern” is reflected in the way the brain functions differently. As a result, the patient is left with an actual problem that is crippling. The goal of treatment is to “retrain the brain,” for instance by relearning normal movement patterns after previously developing abnormal and dysfunctional movement patterns.

One approach to think about FND is to compare it to a computer’s “software” issue. Although the “hardware” is undamaged, there is a “software” issue that prevents the computer from functioning properly. Unless the patient has another neurological illness, conventional structural MRI brain scans are typically normal in FND. Functional brain imaging (fMRI) is beginning to offer preliminary proof of how the brain malfunctions in FND. fMRI scans reveal changes in FND patients, who differ from healthy individuals without these symptoms as well as healthy individuals who are “faking” these symptoms. Functional imaging is still primarily a research tool and is not yet sufficiently advanced to be applied to the FND diagnosis. The results of scans confirm what patients and researchers already know: these are real illnesses in which there is a change in brain function that is not under the patient’s control.

FND has historically been thought of as a wholly psychological condition whereby suppressed psychological stress or trauma is “transformed” into a physical symptom. This is the origin of the term “conversion disorder.” Although they rarely fully explain the genesis of the syndrome and are absent in many individuals, psychological disorders and stressful life events, both recent and from childhood, may be risk factors for acquiring the condition in some patients. Patients can acquire FND without being sad, nervous, or have had a traumatic upbringing.

According to contemporary views, FND has a variety of reasons that differ from patient to patient. One analogy is to consider cardiac illness. Heart disease can be brought on by a variety of factors, including smoking, genetics, food, and even psychological or stress-related issues like melancholy. Although it may not apply to everyone, smoking may contribute to heart disease in many cases. FND can be compared using the same example. When analyzing how the brain has malfunctioned, psychological elements like stress or past trauma at the time of symptom start in FND can be crucial. In some cases, the most crucial factor can be the existence of a condition, such as a migraine or a physical injury.


Functional neurology: What is it?

Functional neurology is a cutting-edge field of neuroscience and a fascinating method of treating patients. We activate your brain and body, test and improve your sensory-motor systems, and support your peak performance. Every component of the human nervous system performs a particular function or collection of functions. A functional whole-body approach is used in functional neurology to treat neurological, metabolic, and musculoskeletal injuries.

In Functional Neurology for FND, a Functional Neurologist can develop an effective treatment plan for a patient after doing a thorough evaluation to identify the weak points in their neurological system. This will enhance the way their nervous system functions.


Functional Neurology for FND: The Idea of Neuroplasticity

“Neuroplasticity” is an important idea in understanding Functional Neurology. Because they can be sculpted or changed by sensory, motor, cognitive, or emotional events, nerve connections in the brain are regarded as “plastic.” Simply put, your nervous system may be rewired as a result of your exposure.

We now know that your brain is capable of extraordinary change every day you are alive, despite the fact that this system was long thought to be “fixed” or incapable of change after reaching full maturity. A nerve cell can also stretch to far-reaching regions and develop synaptogenesis connections with new neurons (neuronal migration).

Functional neurology encourages healthy nervous system plasticity by providing the right stimulation and fuel, such as blood flow, to the brain. The goal of treatment is to both protect and activate the neurological system so that it can function optimally. We now understand that even an underperforming nervous system can be repaired, frequently with progressive and long-lasting results.

Simply put, Functional Neurology for FND treats nerve cells by using particular, non-invasive therapy methods. Since the nervous system is directly responsible for coordinating and balancing all other regions of the body, functional neurology treatments typically focus on particular areas of the nervous system. Your physical and emotional health may be affected by a nervous system imbalance, and you may experience negative effects.

The nervous system may be controlled and brought back into balance, which benefits overall health. 


Functional Neurologist Initial Consultation

In Functional Neurology for FND, a functional neurologist’s first objective is to thoroughly and accurately pinpoint the malfunctioning parts of your neurological system. The tailored treatment plan that is best suited for your illness and your health goals will be built on this. 

To determine the location, nature, and degree of the neurological imbalance, a thorough examination is the first step in the functional neurology treatment process. The doctor will also try to determine what is causing the imbalance and its symptoms in the first place.

Usually, a medical neurologist will treat aberrant nerve function with medication or surgery. In order to restore nerve function, a functional neurologist often uses physical, non-invasive stimulation.

  • Particular eye movements: Saccades, pursuits, and optokinetic reflex
  • Head movements that activate certain inner ear structures include: A spherical channel and an otolith
  • Using the Interactive Metronome as a form of sensory-motor stimulation can speed up reaction times to visual and aural signals.
  • Balance training: Training using force plates and vestibular rehabilitation
  • Exercises, adjustments, and manual treatment with a focus on the nervous system