Concussion Management: Functional Neurology
Functional neurology is a healthcare discipline that is focused on observing the subtleties of the human nervous system. The skills of a functional neurologist allow the provider to diagnose both structural and functional neurologic disorders. The treatment provided by a functional neurologist is non-surgical and non-pharmaceutical, and is designed to specifically rehabilitate the parts of the brain affected by the concussion.
Healing or recovering from a concussion takes time. It may take days, weeks, or even months for the condition to resolve. Any person who may have had a concussion needs to see a concussion specialist. Delay in instituting treatment may prolong recovery from a concussion, or even result in permanent neurologic deficits. Orders for cognitive and physical rest should be followed strictly at home, school, and work. Additionally, children and adolescents are at increased risk of protracted recovery and severe, potential permanent disability (e.g. early dementia also known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy), or even death if they sustain another concussion before fully recovering from the first concussion. Therefore, it is imperative that a child or adolescent is fully recovered from a previous concussion before resuming activities that may result in another concussion.
The goal of concussion management is to allow the brain injury to heal with no residual effects, or permanency. Treatment of concussions differs depending on the level of severity of the injury, the age and pre-injury health of the patient, and the ability of the patient to comply with treatment recommendations. Concussion management may be organized into 4 categories:
- Cognitive and physical rest
- Nutrition and brain food
- Gentle activation of the brain in the doctor’s office
- Home exercises to synchronize brain activity