Solicitor, Bruce Dyer, is one of the very few lawyers in the UK with a special interest in, and understanding of, Functional Neurological Disorder (FND); specifically where his clients have developed FND following an accident. To speak to Bruce informally and in strict confidence – even if your claim is currently with another solicitor – please email him, or call him on 01225 462871.
Many of our clients have developed a Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) following an accident. It is regrettable that FNDs remain relatively poorly understood and that is reflected in the availability of treatment in the UK.
What is FND?
A diagnosis of FND is given where somebody is suffering functional problems (symptoms) which appear neurological in origin, but where there is no identifiable structural damage to their brain and nervous system. In other words, these genuine symptoms are ‘medically unexplained’. Formally, this was often referred to by doctors as “functional overlay“.
The problem seems to be with how our brain and body sends, receives and interprets signals. To use a computer analogy, it’s a software problem rather than a hardware problem. Typical symptoms include:
- dizziness, blurred vision or seeing flashing lights;
- tingling in your hands or feet;
- a tremor in one or both arms;
- headaches or migraines;
- changes in eyesight, like blurred vision or seeing flashing lights.
What is the treatment for FND?
Sometimes, symptoms can improve or resolve spontaneously or over time without treatment. However, in our experience that is unusual.
There is no one single treatment for FND. The NHS most commonly recommend a combination of treatments and therapies. These often include:
- physical therapy such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy;
- psychological therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT);
- medication, often including pain and antidepressants medication (although the latter often help target a number of different symptoms, not just psychological ones);
- lifestyle changes to reduce stress and anxiety such as mindfulness, yoga and meditation.
The good news is that the way FND is viewed by the medical profession is continuing to evolve. Some of our clients are now reporting to us that in addition to (and separate from) dealing with the psychological aspects of their condition, doctors are beginning to emphasise and explain to them the mechanism of their symptoms, ie actually demonstrating to them their clinical signs.
In so doing, they are hoping that patients can gain a greater understanding as to how and why their condition has occurred. Equipped with that understanding, they can be better helped to focus on ways of reducing over-attention on both their symptoms and their generally poor expectations in relation to those symptoms.
Inpatient treatment programmes
If your FND has so far proved resistant to therapy, a dedicated, intense, inpatient programme will sound very welcome. However, specialist centres remain few and far between.
See our article: Inpatient rehabilitation for Functional Neurological Disorder (FND)