Dr. Dana Brindisi
Dr. Dana Brindisi is a functional neurologist and the owner of Carolina Functional Neurology Center. She can be reached at carolinafnc.com or 919-725-2202.
Do you feel dizzy or lightheaded when you turn the lights out, stand up too quickly, or when you bend down to pick something up? Are you worried about losing your independence because these things are impacting your day-to-day life and activities?
Although some of these symptoms are common, they are certainly not normal and they range in severity from mild to very severe and debilitating.
In order to maintain appropriate balance we use three systems in our body: our visual system, our vestibular system (the inner ear and brainstem), and our proprioceptive system (the system that tells our brain where our body is in space).
If there is dysfunction in any of these areas, you may notice the symptoms listed above and if that function declines they may worsen over time.
The good news
Our brains have the ability to change, adapt, and improve through a process called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is simply the brain’s ability to change based on physical, emotional, and environmental stimuli.
As functional neurologists, we combine this concept with our extensive knowledge of the nervous system and the human body to find avenues to activate the areas of the brain that are dysfunctional and create long-term changes to improve our patients’ symptoms.
Just as an MRI would be ordered to look at the structure of the brain, we utilize different diagnostic testing to assess the brain’s function. That, coupled with a thorough bedside examination, allows us to understand where in the brain the symptoms are coming from—in this case, those areas mentioned above (visual, vestibular, proprioceptive).
Utilizing the concept of neuroplasticity is a holistic approach to healthcare using rehabilitation instead of medication or surgery. Some of the therapies used are eye-movement therapy, vestibular rehabilitation, sensory integration therapy, autonomic nervous system re-calibration through tilt table testing and therapy, balance and coordination therapy, cognitive re-training and interactive metronome to name a few.
If you are concerned about these types of symptoms, then it’s time to stop living with them and make a change today. Your brain has the ability to change – you just have to take the steps to do it.