I was frowning most of the time, shuffling, hunching over a bit, was almost always exhausted, and my shoulder was frozen and horribly painful when I found Dr Kaplan. I was searching for someone to prove that I did not have Parkinson’s disease. When he told me I did, I was not amused, to say the least. Unlike other doctors though, his next words were NOT “there is no cure,” he said instead, “but we can work together and help you to regain function.” After accepting the “hopeless” diagnosis of PD, it took me a while to believe the positive prognosis he offered, but as time went by I started to see improvement, and within the span of just over 3 months, I had improved by leaps and bounds.
It was nothing short of amazing, read on…
LT: Hi, today I am speaking with Dr Kaplan, New York City’s only functional neurologist. Dr Kaplan, I came to you in the middle of June this year, 2013, and I really was looking for someone to tell me I didn’t have Parkinson’s, you know, I had a collection of symptoms but unfortunately you couldn’t tell me that. Can you tell me a little bit about my condition at the time?
Dr K: Okay, well if I recall you came in trying to fix the shoulder basically, but the shoulder, from what I’ve found, was actually a result of Parkinson’s, and that is one of the first symptoms of Parkinson’s is shoulder pain.
LT: Yeah my shoulder was almost completely frozen.
Dr K: Yes, it was frozen, there wasn’t any range of motion, it was very limited. I knew that by actually addressing the Parkinson’s, the neurological condition, it would improve the shoulder. So there were a few things that we picked up on that would tell us the correct diagnosis. The shoulder pain was one of them. What we also looked at was the tremor and the kind of tremor it was. There are all different types of tremors, attention tremors, which occur when you are doing an activity and that brings on the tremor. They are different than the Parkinsonian tremor, which is called a resting tremor, which occurs when you are not doing anything. Then there was the pill rolling, which is when the thumb and fingers start moving together. Then we had your gait, a little shuffling gait, where the body was going quicker than the feet and they are trying to catch up to the body. We also noticed a lot of things with the eyes, in the way the eyes moved. We noticed a stooped posture where the head was going forward and the shoulders were going in.
LT: Wow this is depressing hearing this again.
Dr K: But everything that we worked on actually improved. So by doing this active type of therapy we can not only stop the progression of Parkinson’s but actually get improvement and reverse symptoms. So Parkinson’s is a condition where it usually just keeps getting worse and worse and worse, but with the functional neurology approach we can actually stop the progression and reverse it and get improvement. Which is an amazing thing in that I love that I was able to help you and help other patients with the same problem as well.
LT: As of today we are at October 31st, 2013, and my shoulder is nearly completely recovered. I have almost complete range of motion and no pain. My sense of smell returned. I’m not shuffling anymore. I’m not hunched over anymore. I have much more energy. So what is this functional neurology?
Dr K: Functional neurology was designed by Dr. Ted Carrick and what he did was he used all the information and all the research that all these doctors have about Parkinson’s, but what the difference was, was the application. So instead of giving dopamine agonists, which is usually the medical approach, he designed this method to actually start producing dopamine through neurological exercises. Which is pretty amazing. He has taught me and he has taught a few hundred other doctors how to do this. It is a complex training, the brain is very complicated and it takes a lot of time and commitment to become a functional neurologist, but if you put in that time and commitment, and apply it with patients, you get the best results out of any type of treatment for Parkinson’s.
LT: I can testify to that. Dr Kaplan do you have a lot of Parkinson’s patients?
Dr K: Yes, I have a lot of Parkinson’s patients. I have found that the best way to get the quickest improvement is through intensives. In that way we can literally get, in one week, a huge, significant improvement. I have patients sometimes 50% better in one week, but the intensives are intense. The way they work is, we see patients 4 times a day for 6 days in a row. We do pretests, we use what’s called a CAPS machine and a BNG system to get quantitative measurements. We start the first day and then we do the same tests after the intensive week. In addition to the patient seeing all these results, we also have them recorded and we have them as quantified and objective measurements, rather than just subjective observation. I have found that intensives are the best way to get the quickest results. It depends on how the patient does by the end of the week. Sometimes we can do an intensive just once every 3 months, but depending on how severe the symptoms are, I might have to see the patient once a month. The intensives are by far the best way to get the quickest improvement of the Parkinson’s symptoms.
LT: My work schedule did not allow me to do an intensive but still over the course of these months I am enormously improved and continuing to improve.
Dr K: That’s what I love to hear, that’s why we do it.
LT: Great! Dr Kaplan thanks so much for letting me interview you and thanks so much for your amazing work.
Dr K: It’s my pleasure.
Dr Eric Kaplan, Village Chiropractic and Functional Neurology Center
Information on the originator of Functional Neurology can be found here: