Seizures are the snowflakes of the medical world– no two seizures are ever completely the same.
Seizures affect a number of regions in the brain and have a variety of causes, triggers, and symptoms. They range from Partial seizures where only one focal region is affected, to Generalized seizures where the entire body is affected, to Secondary Generalized seizures, which start as partial seizures but evolve into generalized seizures. Furthermore, Generalized seizures can be split up into several categories:
- Absence seizures: which leave the affected person in a dazed state, staring off into space with no apparent muscle movement
- Tonic seizures: which usually cause the back, leg, and arm muscles to stiffen
- Clonic seizures: which cause repetitive muscle spasms on both sides of the body
- Myoclonic seizures: which cause twitches within the upper body and extremities
- Atonic seizures: which lead to syncope and head drooping due to diminished muscle tone
- Tonic-clonic seizures: which are characterized by both body stiffening and repetitive extremity spasms
- Epilepsy: which is defined as a condition with recurrent unprovoked seizures
Most seizures are harmless and normally do not last for longer than 2 minutes; however, seizures lasting longer than 5 minutes or unconsciousness require medical attention. People can injure themselves very badly while in the seizure state. With convulsing seizures there is a potential for the person physically injure themselves while convulsing, or bite– or even swallow their tongue. Seizures are often triggered by medication, flashing lights, high fevers, head injuries, withdrawal, and certain diseases. Symptoms of seizures include convulsing, loss of bladder control, unusual grunting noises, and rapid eye movements. Patients who suffer from seizures may or may not experience a loss of consciousness depending on the type of seizure they have and the region of the brain affected.
A 2017 case study headed by Dr. Jeremai Hafer and Dr. Jianina Foltz found that chiropractic treatment was an effective method in eliminating seizures in their 20 year old patient. The patient came in after being hospitalized several times with insufficient relief from his prescribed seizure medication. The chiropractor determined that the patient had a vertebral subluxation where his spinal bones had dysfunctional motion and positioning. This, in turn, altered the neural communication between the patient’s brain and body. Chiropractic adjustments repositioned the upper cervical area which, consequently helped correct the alignment between the patient’s spinal nerves and brain stem. By correcting the preceding neural connections the patient’s neural signaling to the brain was also repaired; positive input into the nervous system helped the patient’s brain stop sending abnormal electrical signals and reduced instances of seizures. After 13 weeks of chiropractic adjustments the patient was taken off of all anti-seizure medication and reported diminished lower back and neck pain. More research is needed before generalizing these results, but these case study findings offer intriguing prospects for the future of seizure treatment!