Lancaster Brain & Spine Rehabilitation Center: Helping Clients Enhance Brain Function to Engage in Life
Jan 27, 2019 09:46PM
● By Gisele Rinaldi Siebold
Functional neurologists focus on the assessment and treatment of neurological disorders, but without the use of pharmaceuticals or surgery. Dr. Shayne Bushong is a board-certified chiropractic neurologist, fellowship-trained in brain injury and rehabilitation, at Lancaster Brain & Spine. He and his team are able to localize areas of dysfunction of the brain and nervous system, with the use of standard neurological and orthopedic evaluations, and a variety of advanced technology for diagnostics and measurement of neurological function.
“Once a diagnosis is made, we develop individualized treatment plans consisting of vestibular therapies, eye exercises, brain-based therapies and somatosensory stimulations to stimulate the brain to address dysfunctions,” he says. “Our integrative approach to rehab is evidence-based and supported by current scientific research, with a goal towards promoting plasticity (the strengthening or rewiring of neurological pathways) within the brain.
“Neuroplasticity is an extremely important concept when it comes to the treatment of neurological disorders. Activating neurological pathways repeatedly and at the right frequency can increase the number of connections or synapses between nerves and strengthen existing connections,” explains Bushong. “We are constantly adding and removing synapses throughout our entire lives; as we learn new things, meet new people, play sports or instruments, we are rewiring our brains. This ability to change in response to environmental stimulation is what makes our brains so remarkable.”
Bushong recommends a yearly baseline neurological assessment for children, especially prior to playing sports, that checks vision, eye movement, memory, balance and neurocognitive function. An initial neurocognitive assessment provides insight into a person’s neurological capabilities. Since a neurocognitive test compares same-age individuals, having a personal baseline allows the individual to also be compared to him or herself, either year after year, or if an injury, such as a concussion, occurs.
“Concussion can affect every part of the brain, so it’s imperative that the baseline test examine a broad area of neurological function,” explains Bushong. “Currently, research indicates that deficits in eye movements are one of the most sensitive and reliable indicators of a concussion, which is why we focus so much on learning how to examine and treat those deficits. We are learning more every day about the long-term effects that concussion has on children if gone untreated or unresolved. Side effects range from headaches, learning difficulties, poor memory, anxiety, depression and more.
“Having a thorough neurological examination early and repeatedly throughout life is a valuable tool, similar to having a colonoscopy or breast examination,” he says. “Many of the diseases associated with aging have subtle signs that may be detected a decade or more prior to the symptoms showing up. Early lifestyle changes and rehabilitation may be able to prevent or markedly delay the onset of these diseases.
“As I stated earlier, we have the ability to add new synapses throughout our entire lives, so this gives hope to those who are starting to show signs of cognitive decline or neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease,” notes Bushong. “Through functional neurological rehabilitation, you have the ability to improve and increase the connections in the nervous system and slow the progression of these disorders.”
He suggests that steps people can take to create neuroplasticity in the brain go beyond walking 20 minutes a day or doing crossword puzzles. “Your brain grows best when doing novel activities that stimulate all of the senses,” affirms Bushong. “Learn to play a new instrument or speak a new language. Take up a new hobby. Be social, and make life as rich and meaningful as possible.”
According to Bushong, anyone can benefit from functional neurology, whether the goal is to focus better, stand and walk better, have less pain, think more clearly, move without getting dizzy or simply be able to play a sport better. He says, “We can assess neurological function and help our clients achieve their goals.”
Lancaster Brain & Spine Rehabilitation Center is located at 1361 Fruitville Pike, in Lancaster. For more information, call 717-299-9600 or visit LancaterBrainAndSpine.com.