Functional Neurology
of Middlesex County
Gregory Symko, D.C., D.A.B.C.N.
747 Main Street Suite 205
Concord, MA 01742
978.369.7070
Directions & Office Hours

Posts about the topic: Functional Neurologist

Dr. Symko, Concord-area Functional Neurologist, and Functional Medical Practitioner and the Evolution of Health, Part Two.

Evolution of Healthcare, Part Two

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Western medicine is very good at acute-care but is not the panacea for disease prevention. There needs to be a change the way we handle chronic disease.

Healthcare has often been called ill to the pill medicine. For example, someone has a complaint about high blood pressure, arthritis, heartburn, acid reflux, or depression and there is a pill for that. For every single disease that is labeled, it has a pill attached to it, and insurance continues to pay for this.

The incentive for Western medicine is to get paid for a diagnosis, and not an outcome. For many years health care has named the problem, blamed the problem, tamed the problem with medication, and then billed for it.

The problem with this approach is that it’s not improving our overall health. We are not thinking about functional medicine, or about getting to the underlying cause of someone’s ailment. No one is looking at the whole person’s body, mind, emotions and spirit in looking at how all our systems interact.

The 2009 World Economic Forum discovered that chronic disease is the most severe threat to today’s economic development.
In 2010 the United States spent over $8 billion on therapy. Most of this is going to therapy such as cholesterol-lowering medication, antidepressants, and anti-psychotics.

In 2013, Harvey Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine stated, “the nation’s current health trajectory is lower in success hiring costs than it should be.”

According to the World Health Organization, 70 to 90% of all colonic disease is related to lifestyle and environment.

I’ll finish with a quote by Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

But don’t despair, Part Three will have some solutions to our challenges!!

Eat that Cow!

Meat has gotten a terrible rap, and it’s unfortunate that not enough good information about why meat is necessary exists. For the past 50+ years, we have been fed information suggesting that animal proteins and fats from meat and eggs are bad for us. We’ve been told we will live longer if we avoid them. That kind of information – put out over and over again – has become so embedded into our brains that we don’t question whether it is true or not.

I’m here to tell you; it’s not.

Eat That Cow

There are a lot of reasons why eating meat is beneficial. Here are the top three.

  1. We need protein! Our genes are made of protein so for the body to replace cells that get invariably depleted or damaged, it needs protein so it can make more DNA. As well, enzymes are protein. Many of our cells have enzyme receptors on them and to turn a process on in a cell, an enzyme (or protein) has to bind to that receptor. Think of a key needed to turn the engine of your car on. The fact that our ancestors – those cave people – ate meat is, in fact, a large reason why our bodies were able to grow and develop. The amino acids we get from meat are the building blocks needed for the brain to function normally.
  2. We need the fat! Fat is another thing that has gotten an unfortunately bad rap. The essential fatty acids (“essential” meaning the body can’t produce them; you have to eat them) found in meat are necessary for almost all of the chemical reactions in your body. And our cell walls – which are the gatekeepers for the body, keeping certain substances in and harmful ones out – are made of fat. Eating it contributes to the cell wall’s strength.  But perhaps most importantly, fat helps our brain function by making sure that the nerve pathways are insulated, and don’t interfere with each other.
  3. We need the vitamins! Vegetables are quite nutrient dense. No one will argue and eating a lot of them is certainly beneficial.  But meats – organ meat, beef, fish, and shellfish – are nutrient dense as well. They provide the body with many key vitamins from B to iron to zinc, and two very important fat-soluble vitamins (A and D) that many are deficient in. These vitamins play a key role in many areas of human health from promoting healthy immune function and fertility to regulating calcium metabolism and reducing inflammation. And they are in concentrated           amounts and found almost exclusively in animal foods.

Next time you hear someone tell you that you will die early from eating meat remember not to believe everything you hear. There are too many factors that can affect that statement and we should question them – like the source of the meat (grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic) because that matters.  We should question what we pair the meat with (breads and sugar-laden condiments vs. fresh vegetables).  That matters as well.

What we don’t need to question is whether we should be eating meat.  That question can be left out to pasture – with the cows.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

It is important to know the source of shoulder pain so treatment can be effective and prevent further damage to the shoulder and surrounding structures.

 

What do we know about shoulders?

  • The shoulder is a very complex joint that is important to many activities of daily living.
  • Adhesive capsulitis is used to refer to a problem with the shoulder itself.
  • Secondary Adhesive Capsulitis refers other issues affecting the shoulder and not the shoulder itself.
  • Active range of motion will most likely be limited and painful in both cases, but decreased passive range of motion, which is often painful as well, most likely indicates problems with the shoulder joint itself.
  • Adhesive capsulitis, most commonly referred to as frozen shoulder (FS), is an idiopathic disease with two principal characteristics: pain and contracture.
  • Limitation of external rotation (*which is the first direction affected) is due to contracture of the coracohumeral ligament which prevents the greater tuberosity from further movement.

As you can see by the above, it takes a great deal of careful examination to figure out why there is a frozen shoulder.  Look here for more and how it might be treated.

Dr. Symko, Concord-area Functional Neurologist and Functional Medical Practitioner, continues to write about back pain.

It is clear to me that we do not know enough about back pain.

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One morning a long-time patient whom I hadn’t seen in a while asked if he could talk to me about a problem he had for over eighteen months.

At first, he stated that he had back and hip pain.  Before our appointment, he went to the orthopedic doctor who prescribed physical therapy for the back; however, his back felt worse after the treatment.  (He was doing a whole range of back and hip exercises.)

He then received a series of cortisone injections in his back and hips.  The injections did not help, but in fact, aggravated the pain, making it worse.  Even walking up and down stairs was problematic.

I examined him which included discussing his symptoms, like what type of pain, where did it hurt, how does it hurt, what makes it hurt and what makes it feel better. Once I had an idea as to what might be the problem, I performed a few orthopedic tests to help me confirm what I thought the problem was.

I determined that the primary issue was his hip, which was causing pain, but also causing a problem in his lower back.  He had a physically demanding job, and it has taken a toll on his hip, and because of this, his back was also affected.

I directed treatment to his hip, which only helped a little, so I then suggested an MRI of both hips.  The MRI revealed that he had a tear in the ligament supporting his hips.  One was worse than the other.  He needed surgery.

It is hard to say, but if the issue was figured out eighteen months before his visit with me, chances are his hips would not have been as bad.

back pain

Dr. Symko, Concord-area Functional Neurologist and Functional Medical Practitioner, What You Should Know About Back Pain.

Eighty percent of us will suffer from back pain, it is one of the leading causes of not going to work costing the US about 635 billion dollars annually.  That is a lot of pain.

Why is it so hard to figure out how to treat back pain?  I think the answer lies first in what we don’t know about backs.  You might hear that backs are complicated, or that “we don’t know everything about backs”.

In fact, is a lot of information out there and many little tidbits about the back and why we have pain.  Here are just 10.

  1. Backs are meant to move in a variety of directions without causing any pain.
  2. There are two types of muscle groups found in our back; fast twitch (stabilizers) and slow twitch (movers).
  3. Each type requires a different set of exercises to help them to be strong.
  4. Sitting for long periods is not good for back health.
  5. Pain is not always caused by a disc bulge.
  6. Movement is one of the best cures for back pain.
  7. It is not always necessary to have an x-ray or MRI of the back to determine what is wrong.
  8. The majority of back pain is of a functional nature and not a structural one.
  9. Simple orthopedic testing can help determine what is causing the pain and where it is coming from.
  10. The longer there is back pain the harder it is to correct.

If you have back pain and don’t know where it is coming from or how to heal it, we can help!  Give us a call or connect on email:  978-369-7070; drsymko@gmail.com.

 

Dr. Greg Symko, Concord-area Functional Neurologist, writes about what we need to be healthy. Part One.

Our brain and body are amazing and can immediately respond to positive activities.  We understand that most diseases, especially chronic, are caused by our lifestyle.  As a Functional Healthcare Medical Office, we help individuals who are suffering from chronic problems through lifestyle changes to achieve complete health. 

What are the easiest things to do to help your body function efficiently?

First, is food, but how can we make this simple?

Let’s look at what our bodies need to survive.

  1. A good source of protein.
  2. A good source of fats.
  3. A good source of minerals, vitamins and micro-nutrients.

What are the best sources of these?

  1. For protein and fats: animal protein.
  2. For minerals, vitamins and micro-nutrients.
  3. For fats: coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, and avocado oil.

Notice, there are no carbs and no fruits, the above is all that you need to survive and flourish.

The plate above should be filled with three-quarters vegetables and one-quarter protein.

 

Dr. Greg Symko, Concord-area Functional Neurologist, writes about what it means to be Functional.

Baby with Carrot Juice

Many health care providers are starting to call themselves Functional Medical Doctors or Functional Neurologists. I call myself a Functional Healthcare Practitioner. The name sounds interesting, but what does it mean?  If you look up the word in the dictionary, one of the definitions is “of or having a special activity, purpose, or task; relating to the way in which something works or operates,” and “there are important functional differences between left and right brain.”

A Health Care Provider looks at how well our bodies function.  Many times, a Functional Healthcare Practitioner will have an understanding as to why someone suffers from migraines, MS, Alzheimer’s or other chronic issues. They deal with those issues as opposed to trying to alleviate the symptoms with drugs, supplements or treatment.  Treatment may vary from acupuncture, chiropractic or physical therapy.

Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes with Functional Health Care and regaining one’s health can take some time, but it addresses the core of the problem so that real health can be achieved and maintained without drugs, surgery, large amounts of supplements or treatment.  In my experience, if someone is not getting well I have missed something.  It is a challenge to the Practitioner, but it is a challenge worth taking, because if all those other things worked; drugs, surgery, supplements, and treatment, I wouldn’t be here.