Expert Profile - Jonathan Chung
Jonathan Chung, DC, FABBIR, DACNB
Functional Medicine Chiropractor
Dr. Jonathan Chung‘s Bio:
Dr. Jonathan Chung is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and upper cervical chiropractor based out of Wellington, FL. He is the owner and clinical director of Keystone Chiropractic and Neuroplasticity where he has a clinical focus on patients with traumatic brain injury, vestibular disorders, and dysautonomia.
Dr. Chung received his undergraduate degree in Microbiology/Molecular Biology from the University of Central Florida and his Doctorate of Chiropractic from Life University. He received his post-graduate training in clinical neuroscience from the Carrick Institute where he completed a Fellowship in the American Board of Brain Injury and Rehabilitation.
He is a sought-after speaker on concussion, vestibular disorders, dysautonomia, and craniocervical junction injuries. He has also published several peer-reviewed articles on top of contributions to The Brain Health Magazine.
What life events or challenges that you’ve experienced (could be minor, could be major) – whether you’ve experienced them directly or via someone close to you, have had any type of impact on your desire to work with patients with mental health challenges?
Mental health has always been an interest in my career which led me to pursuing a minor in Psychology during my undergraduate education. As I became a full-time clinician, it became obvious to me how much mental health played a role in physical well-being. Issues with anxiety and depression are so commonly comorbid with chronic pain syndromes, persistent post-concussion symptoms, and vestibular disorders that much of the time I spend doing brain-based neurological rehabilitation, I often find myself in the role of a therapist just by listening to a patient’s fears and concerns.
I also realized that patients with mental health concerns were not getting a complete look at what contributes to poor mental health outcomes. Many can find symptom relief and improvement with medications, but the environment that contributed to mental health deterioration was being left unaddressed. These patients needed avenues to address psycho-social issues and metabolic problems that can play important roles in their outcomes.
It’s helped me to truly understand that getting the most for our patient means that we need a complete approach to health that includes physical, mental, social, spiritual, metabolic, and brain health to achieve a desired outcome for a patient.
How did those events impact you emotionally/morally? How, if at all did those events impact the way you view how our current system teaches us to treat patients with mental health challenges?
More than anything else, my training in clinical neuroscience has taught me that people cannot have a healthy body if they don’t have a healthy mind. There are times when we can unlock someone’s mind by solving their pain or balance issues, but there are also many more times when someone’s mental health is a real obstacle to overcoming their physical health complaint.
The way medicine currently treats these problems lacks the time and infrastructure needed to give these patients what they need. It’s not good enough to tell these patients that they have anxiety or their pain is caused by anxiety. They need a framework that helps to explain why caring about their mental state will lead to them having a more fulfilled life that can also help their physical body heal.
When and why did you decide to actually focus on working with patients dealing with mental health issues, specifically, and how was your decision shaped by the experiences above?
In the past 5 years, I’ve made it a point to change the way that I communicate with all patients. Patients coming in with chronic pain or chronic symptoms of brain injury may or may not have a mental health issue that is holding them back, but how a doctor leads, empowers, and encourages that patient is known to help have a more complete recovery.
We want to ensure that patients with mental health problems feel seen, and utilize therapies that can reduce inflammation that play a role in mental well being. We also want to ensure that improper treatment of the patient’s condition never leads to new mental health problems.
What methods or practices do you utilize to help individuals get/feel better?
When we see a patient, we try to take into account the major pillars that contribute to healing and sickness. That includes sleep, nutrition, social factors, environmental/toxic factors, stress, movement, structure, and brain health.
Once we have an understanding of what has led a patient to their current condition, we perform a comprehensive neurological exam to find rehabilitation strategies that can induce favorable neuroplasticity to retrain the brain for better function.
We will include therapies that include upper cervical chiropractic, photobiomodulation, non-invasive neuromodulation, and exercise for targeted brain rehabilitation. We also co-manage patients with a functional medicine paradigm to help address neurometabolic factors in brain function.