Unexplained Motor, Sensory Or Vision Loss
What is Unexplained Motor, Sensory, or Vision Loss?
All too often, patients experience neurologic symptoms that cannot be explained despite a thorough medical evaluation. While symptoms differ among individuals, they can affect a variety of functions including movement, sensation, vision, walking, or speech. Symptoms can persist for months or even years without a diagnosis or resolution.
Symptoms may include:
- Weakness or paralysis of limbs
- Numbness, tingling or complete anesthesia of a limb or part of the body
- Seizure-like episodes (also called pseudoseizures)
- Loss of balance or difficulty walking
- Transient tunnel-vision, blurred vision, or blindness
- Slurred speech
Patients with these symptoms may receive a diagnosis of “conversion disorder” or “somatization”, without an understanding of the underlying cause of their symptoms. Patients are often referred to psychiatry or counselling, but experience little improvement despite therapy. One of the major reasons why this occurs is because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the cause of these symptoms, and the approach to treatment. Commonly, these symptoms are felt to be psychological in nature, and treated with psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy.
My approach to these patients is quite different. I believe these symptoms are very much neurological in nature, affecting parts of the nervous system that are not tested by conventional medical testing. These include subcortical brain structures such as the limbic system and insula, and the autonomic nervous system. When we begin to look at these symptoms through a new lens, and address them with treatments focused on these parts of the nervous system, symptoms often improve.
I work with patients who have already completed a medical workup, but no medical cause has been found for their neurological symptoms. I will work with patients and families in reviewing their medical history and investigations, and can recommend testing if required.
My treatment approach is different for each patient. I take time to understand each patient’s unique story, and educate patients about how their nervous system is creating their symptoms. I use a holistic approach which may include a combination of interventions aimed at regulating the nervous system, emotional regulation, and processing unresolved emotions or trauma using Brainspotting.