The Cerebral Cortex & Limbic System

Over recent years it has become more and more evident that the clinical benefit associated with manual therapy is not simply related to local segmental responses. Instead, a major therapeutic role is now attributed to activation of the central nervous system (Pickar and Bolton, 2012; Schmid et al, 2008).

The cerebral cortex and subcortical regions (e.g. limbic system and thalamus) have a major influence on muscle tone, posture and pain processing. Cortical imbalances, therefore, are often the underlying cause of the conditions we successfully treat on a day-to-day basis. Specifically treating the brain dysfunction in addition to any segmental joint and muscle abnormalities is likely to maximise the potential treatment response and help prevent early relapse. Understanding and treating according to the patient's central neurological dysfunction will also reduce undesirable side effects of treatment, such as soreness, headache or dizziness; these can be the result of exceeding the patient's neuronal metabolic capacity or worsening the functional imbalance within their central nervous system.

This seminar will teach you how to assess for and treat dysfunction at a cortical and subcortical level, thus allowing you to treat the brain imbalances that nearly all of your patients have more purposely and with greater specificity. It will also help you to understand various conditions associated with cortical / subcortical dysfunction, such as ADD, depression, and dyspraxia, and why such conditions often improve with manual therapy.

Please note, all of our seminars are designed to be stand-alone. They do not require prior knowledge of functional neurology and you can take our seminars in any order you wish. 

Numerous practical sessions throughout the day will help develop your newly learnt clinical skills.
Delegate numbers are limited to ensure that each individual receives sufficient attention during the practicals.

Course Content: 

  • How to improve your assessment and treatment of brain dysfunction with emphasis on the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia  and limbic system.

  • Review of the effects of joint manipulation and other manual therapies on brain function.

  • Review of the effects of brain dysfunction on the musculoskeletal system.

  • How dysfunction at a cortical and subcortical level has a major influence on pain sensitivity and pain tolerance.

  • Introduction to specific conditions affecting cortical and subcortical regions, including depression, anxiety, dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention deficit disorder, epilepsy and dystonia.

  • Assessment and treatment of 'subclinical' disorders of cortical and subcortical regions, such as word finding difficulties, problems remembering names or recognising faces, poor navigational skills, sensory abnormalities, light or sound sensitivity, motor or vocal tics, perfectionist or obsessive tendencies, reading difficulties and various frontal lobe problems listed under the next bullet point.

  • Use of specific eye movement exercises to:

    • change abnormal head tilts/rotations

    • improve spatial awareness of different body parts in order to increase conscious proprioception and reduce pain

    • improve the reading ability of people in whom often undiagnosed oculomotor problems are causing 'dyslexic' tendencies

    • help rehabilitate frontal lobe problems, such as poor concentration or attention, difficulty learning new information, emotional problems, behavioural disturbances, motivation issues and forward thinking difficulties

  • Blind-spot testing as a window into cortical function and an outcome measure of therapeutic interventions.

  • Use of light, sound and smell as therapeutic modalities.

  • Low-tech physical and cognitive exercises to address specific patterns of brain dysfunction.

  • Computer programmes and smart phone / tablet apps that can be used to rehabilitate different brain areas. 

Pre-reading suggestions: