Seizures/Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a chronic (long-standing) brain disorder characterized by recurrent seizures–excessive electri­cal activity in the brain that cause sudden changes in behavior. In a seizure, clusters of nerve cells (neurons) in the brain fire at a much faster rate than normal. The symptoms of seizures vary widely, depending on the part of the brain affected. Symptoms may range from muscle stiffening, twitching, jerking, shaking, and loss of consciousness, to a blank stare that may last only a few seconds. Some people with epilepsy may experience seizures only rarely; others may have hundreds of seizures a day. Although there are many known causes of epilepsy–including brain damage resulting from trauma, stroke, heart attack, infectious disease, drug abuse, or abnormal brain development­–sometimes the cause is unknown.

HOW BLAIR UPPER CERVICAL TREATMENT CAN HELP

The type of epilepsy that has been proven to be most treatable by BLAIR care is that caused by trauma. In the case of direct head trauma, the atlas (or C-1) vertebra can misalign and cause compression of the brain stem. When this compression occurs, the neurons tend to fire faster–a process that may lead to a seizure.

BLAIR UPPER CERVICAL TREATMENT can help by correcting the spinal misalignments caused by trauma and removing compression of the brain stem and surrounding nerves. After nerve irritation has been removed, proper communication is restored between the brain and spinal cord, and the surrounding nerves. In many cases, patients with epilepsy see great improvements in their condition once the irritation to the nervous system is removed.

SOURCES

Epilepsy Foundation Web site. Available at: http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org. Accessed March 9, 2005.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Web site. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/epilepsy/detail_epilepsy.htm. Accessed March 8 , 2005.

Parker JN, Parker PM. The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Seizures and Epilepsy . San Diego , Calif : Icon Health Publications, 2002.

USEFUL LINKS

  • Epilepsy Foundation
  • National charitable organization dedicated to the welfare of people with epilepsy through education, advocacy, services, and research.
  • http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org
  • Epilepsy Institute
  • Nonprofit organization providing comprehensive social services and resources for people with epilepsy and their families.
  • http://www.epilepsyinstitute.org
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • Nation’s leading supporter of biomedical research on brain and nervous system disorders; good source of information on seizures and epilepsy.
  • http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/epilepsy/detail_epilepsy.htm
  • Parents Against Childhood Epilepsy
  • Nonprofit research organization providing research information and support to families of children with epilepsy.
  • http://www.paceusa.org

Seizure Disorders and Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a relatively common condition affecting about 1% of the population with 125,000 new diagnoses made annually in the United States alone.

Seizure Disorders & Epilepsy

Epilepsy occurs as a result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Brain cells communicate by sending electrical signals in an organized and orderly pattern. In epilepsy, these electrical signals become abnormal, giving rise to an “electrical storm” that produces seizures.

The cause of epilepsy and seizure disorders is not well understood by the healthcare community, yet researchers continue to focus on trauma as a key cause. Regardless of age, an injury to the head or trauma to the neck and/or upper back can play a key role in the development of seizures. In certain pediatric cases, the injury may occur during the birthing process. After an injury, seizures may begin immediately or, in some cases, take months or years to develop.

Upper Cervical Injuries, Seizures & Epilepsy

Without constant nerve signals from the brain stem to the cerebrum, the brain becomes useless. This can be a critical factor in the development of seizure disorders. Misalignments in the upper cervical spine (neck) can affect the function of the brain stem and trigger an “electrical storm” within the brain that could develop into seizures.

Description

A seizure is the outward sign of a malfunction in the electrical system in the brain. Seizures that occur more than once, without a special cause, are called epilepsy (also called a seizure disorder). Seizures may be convulsions, brief stares, muscle spasms, odd sensations, or episodes of automatic behavior and altered consciousness.

Based on the type of behavior and brain activity, seizures are divided into two broad categories: generalized and partial (also called local or focal). Generalized seizures are produced by abnormal electrical impulses from throughout the entire brain, whereas partial seizures are produced by abnormal electrical impulses in a relatively small part of the brain.

How Upper Cervical Care Relates to Epilepsy / Seizures

While the exact cause of seizures is unknown, medical researchers have focused upon traumatic brain injury (specifically mild concussive injury to the head, neck, or upper back) as a risk factor for seizure onset.1-24 Following the injury, seizures can be triggered immediately or can take months or years to develop.

The purpose of upper cervical chiropractic care is to reverse the trauma-induced upper neck injury; thereby reducing irritation to the nerves in the brain stem and spinal cord that can trigger neurological dysfunction. While many seizure sufferers recall specific traumas such as head injuries, auto accidents or falls, some do not. An evaluation is necessary in each individual’s case to assess whether an upper cervical injury is present and whether benefit from upper cervical care can be achieved.

Patient Testimonials

Case Studies – Epilepsy / Seizures

Male, Age 23 years, Bipolar Disorder, Epilepsy, Sleep Disorder, Headaches, Back Pain

This 23-year-old male suffered a closed head injury at age 17 in which he landed on his head due to a pole-vaulting accident at a high school track meet. Since the fall, he suffered from bipolar disorder (rapid-cycling mood swings), seizures (2-3 per day), daily headaches, daily neck and back pain, and sleep disorder (he would often be awake for 24-36 straight hours before finally going to sleep and then often would sleep for 24 or more hours). He was taking tegretol for bipolar disorder and pain medication for headaches.

During this patient’s upper cervical exam, an upper neck injury was found, most likely stemming from the pole-vaulting accident. The injury was compromising this patient’s brain and spinal cord function. After five months of upper cervical care, all mood swings, headaches, seizures, pain, and sleep trouble were corrected, and all medications were discontinued. All family members remarked at the enormous change in the patient’s mental outlook, personality, and health.

Female, Age 27 years, Seizures, Headaches, Neck Pain

This 27-year-old female was involved in a motor vehicle accident, after which she was diagnosed with whiplash, concussion, and brain injury. Shortly after the accident, she developed headaches, seizures, and pain in her neck and was medicated for those symptoms for several years before seeking help from upper cervical care.

During her initial examination, an upper neck injury was discovered, probably stemming from the auto accident. Within three months of upper cervical care, all headaches, seizures, and pain were absent and all medications were discontinued.

Female, Age 7 years, Seizure Disorder

This 7-year-old female experienced her first seizure at 5 weeks old. The seizures gradually increased until they occurred numerous times per day. It was also discovered fairly early on that this child was not developing properly mentally or physically. It was surmised she may have suffered some level of brain damage during the birth process because she was “blue” when she was born. At the age of 7, her mother described her development as being that of a 1- or 2-year-old. She was non-verbal and was confined to a wheel chair. She experienced petit mal seizures 5 times per day for approximately 20 seconds each and grand mal seizures 3 to 5 times per week.

During her initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. When questioned, her mother recalled that as an infant and small child, her daughter did not turn her head to the left. Her mother theorized that perhaps the neck injury occurred during the birth process.

After her initial upper cervical correction, a lessening in the number of seizures per week was noted. After one month of care, the number of grand mal seizures had decreased to 1-2 per week instead of 3-5. Petit mal seizures dropped substantially to very few being reported. She began to average several days per week without any seizures at all. In addition, her school teachers began reporting noticing more happiness, playing, and better attention span in this patient. After three months of care, only 3 grand mal seizures were reported in the previous 6 weeks. No other seizures were reported.

Female, Age 27 years, Seizures, Headaches, Neck Pain

This 27-year-old female was involved in a motor vehicle accident, after which she was diagnosed with whiplash, concussion, and brain injury. Shortly after the accident, she developed headaches, seizures, and pain in her neck and was medicated for those symptoms for several years before seeking help from upper cervical care.

During her initial examination, an upper neck injury was discovered, probably stemming from the auto accident. Within three months of upper cervical care, all headaches, seizures, and pain were absent and all medications were discontinued.