Seizures & Epilepsy
The worldwide population with epilepsy is estimated to be 10.5 million, 25 percent of whom are children under the age of 15. Epilepsy is a condition characterized by two or more seizures, brief attacks of altered consciousness and abnormal motor activity. Frequently a person will be prescribed medications to cover up the affects of the seizures. Many people do not want to just cover up the symptoms but try to find the underlying cause of the seizures and eliminate it. Seizure medications have serious side effects in many people including liver problems, blood disorders, rashes and altered thinking patterns.
The Boiling Point:
With Seizures and Epilepsy, we think of inflammation and stress that is trapped; eventually needing to be released. Think about a steam engine locomotive. When the water is heating up, there is no steam released, but when the temperature hits 212 degrees Fahrenheit and begins to boil, the steam produced is enough to move a train. We think of seizures being very similar to hitting the boiling point. When there is an excessive amount of stress that builds up day after day and week after week the body must release it. If it is not dissipated or adapted to, the stress is released in the form of a seizure. In my experience, for those who struggle with seizures or epilepsy, they have been overstressed, their fight/flight (sympathetic) system is stuck in the ON MODE. In many cases they have an inability to handle stress appropriately and they are severely Subluxated in the upper cervical spine.
What We Do:
When someone is suffering from seizures or epilepsy, the first thing we do is assess the autonomic function of the nervous system by evaluating for Subluxations. This is very important because seizures are caused by an imbalanced autonomic nervous system. The vagus nerve is important in normal parasympathetic function to every organ and gland (with the exception of the adrenal/stress gland). When there is a subluxation in the Upper Cervical Spine, the vagus nerve and its functions can be greatly affected.
Even the medical model understands the importance of stimulating and regulating the vagus nerve. They have been using a “vagus nerve stimulator” for many years. Basically, they are artificially stimulating the vagus nerve to help rebalance the autonomic nervous system from fight/flight to a restful and relaxed state, which has been shown to reduce the frequency of seizures and epileptic activity. However, because it is artificial, it is very difficult to pinpoint when and how much to stimulate the vagus nerve. At this stage, it is merely a cover up and a work in progress because stimulating the vagus nerve is only half the battle. It is also about regulating the function of the vagus nerve, and that can only be achieved by allowing the body to do it on its own.
How Chiropractic Is Different:
The beautiful thing about Upper Cervical Chiropractic care is not only does it stimulate the vagus nerve, but also helps improve function and regulate the vagus nerve naturally. With specific, scientific adjustments to the upper cervical spine, we can remove nerve interference and allow the body to function naturally. From there, the body can figure out when and how much to stimulate the vagus nerve on its own.
A child who has been overstressed and who is also Subluxated in the upper cervical spine may present with seizures or epilepsy. If so, they are immediately medicated with heavy duty drugs that dumb down the body and fry the brain. This adds more stress to the already misconducting nervous system, prohibits normal function and limits their quality of life. Not a very good prognosis, especially if we are all striving to allow our children to be happy.
Instead, if we know that a child has been through a lot of stress (such as with a traumatic birth), has an autonomic nervous system that is not functioning properly and has a severe Subluxation in the upper cervical spine, then the first step needs to be to remove the interference (the Subluxation) causing it.
In doing so, it will help to stimulate and regulate the function of the vagus nerve and allow for better balance within the autonomic nervous system, thus lessoning the frequency of the child reaching their boiling point, and expressing the release of “steam” or inflammation in the form of seizures and epilepsy. The child will also see an improvement in their quality of life and will be HAPPY.
In the February 3, 2011 issue of the Journal Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research, a case study research article documents the improvement of a 9-year-old girl with Occipital Lobe Epilepsy undergoing upper cervical chiropractic care. In this case, improvement was shown with specific chiropractic adjustments being rendered to the upper cervical (neck) spine.
A 9-year-old girl was brought to the chiropractor by her mother. The child was suffering with uncontrollable blinking of the left eye. She had been previously brought to a neurologist who diagnosed the girl with occipital epilepsy. The neurologist recommended an anti-convulsion medication but the girl’s mother decided to seek upper cervical chiropractic care rather that subject her daughter to drug therapy.
The girl started suffering from uncontrollable eye blinking approximately two weeks before the visit to the chiropractor. Additionally, she had shown other associated symptoms including seizures, tics, spasms, dizziness, and fainting. Other conditions the patient suffered from included constipation, seasonal allergies, rashes, itching, and skin lesions.
An upper cervical chiropractic examination was performed that included a variety of specific procedures including x-rays designed to look for misalignments in the upper cervical spine. These tests confirmed that the girl was a candidate for upper cervical chiropractic care.
Within six days of the initial visit, the girl’s mother reported that the left eye blinking had decreased in frequency. Shortly thereafter, it was noted that her symptoms were progressively decreasing and were only present at night. After two months of care, the eye blinking had completely stopped. The blinking only returned once after that but disappeared again following another adjustment.
In his conclusion, the author summed up this case and explained how chiropractic can help those with epilepsy by saying, “The relationship between an upper cervical subluxation and epileptic conditions in children exists but remains elusive. Evidence from this case supports the elimination of the upper cervical subluxation in the resolution of occipital lobe epilepsy signs and symptoms. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder and it is the opinion of this author that it should be treated conservatively in children before medical and surgical intervention.”