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How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Helps in the Treatment of Seizure Disorders

A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. They are changes in the brain’s electrical activity. These changes can cause dramatic, noticeable symptoms or no symptoms at all. Having two or more seizures at least 24 hours apart that aren’t brought on by an identifiable cause is generally considered epilepsy.

The symptoms of a severe seizure include violent shaking and a loss of control. Because some bouts can lead to injury or be a sign of an underlying medical condition, seeking treatment is essential if you experience them.

Types of seizures

The three major types are focal onset seizures, generalized onset seizures, and unknown onset seizures.

Focal onset seizures occur in only one area of the brain. Therefore, people may also refer to these as partial seizures.

Focal onset seizures can start in small brain areas, such as a single lobe, but can affect large areas.

Generalized onset seizures start in both sides of the brain simultaneously. The common types of generalized onset seizures include:

  • Tonic seizures

  • Clonic seizures

  • Myoclonic seizures

  • Absence seizures

  • Atonic seizures

Unknown onset seizures usually occur without warning. For example, someone may wake up at night and observe their partner having a seizure.

This often means there’s insufficient evidence for medical professionals to diagnose the root cause of a seizure. In these instances, they will define the seizure as an unknown onset.

Symptoms of seizures

With a seizure, signs, and symptoms can range from mild to severe and vary depending on the type. Seizure signs and symptoms may include:

  • Temporary confusion

  • A staring spell

  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs

  • Loss of consciousness or awareness

  • Cognitive or emotional symptoms, such as fear, anxiety, or déjà vu

What causes seizures?

Underlying health conditions can cause seizures. Anything that affects the body also may disturb the brain and lead to a seizure.

Examples of factors that can cause seizures include:

  • extremely high blood pressure
  • fever
  • head trauma
  • kidney or liver failure
  • low blood glucose levels
  • a stroke
  • a brain tumor
  • vascular abnormality in the brain
  • alcohol withdrawal
  • a brain infection, such as meningitis
  • a brain injury during childbirth
  • a brain defect present at birth
  • choking
  • substance use
  • substance withdrawal
  • an electrolyte imbalance

What’s the link between the upper cervical spine and epilepsy?

There are many possible causes of seizures and epileptic fits. However, a common thread across these causes is their biomechanical connection to the upper cervical spine, the same section of the spine that connects the neural pathways in the spinal cord to the brainstem and central nervous system.

Therefore, if there is a misalignment in the upper cervical spine, the resulting inflammation and tension can disrupt the delicate neurology of the central nervous system. Left untreated, this disruption can trigger a cascade of neural ailments, worsening seizure symptoms or eliciting the initial seizure response.

Consider the following three factors that can result in a neurological condition if not properly cared for:

  • Blood flow — The cervical spine is responsible for helping blood get to the brain. Each vertebra in the neck has tiny loops of bone called the vertebral foramen. The vertebral arteries pass through these loops. A misalignment can cause a kink in the line, affecting blood flow to the brain. Therefore, proper cervical spine alignment is relevant to achieving good cerebral blood flow.

  • Brainstem function — The C1 protects the brainstem. This top vertebra in the spine (also called the atlas) is located at the base of the skull. It surrounds the brainstem. As you can imagine, a misalignment can take this protector of the brainstem and cause it to apply pressure instead. Thus, proper brainstem function relies heavily on a well-aligned atlas.

  • Cerebrospinal fluid drainage — The cerebrospinal fluid coats the brain and spinal cord and, among other things, helps to clear away impurities. However, when the upper cervical spine is out of alignment, this fluid may fail to drain correctly. Now, those impurities are stuck in the brain, and the fluid may pool and cause intracranial pressure. Seizures and migraines are just two possible results of this type of issue.

How the upper cervical chiropractic treats seizures

When treating seizures and epilepsy, the chiropractor aims to use a gentle and precise program of chiropractic adjustments to restore the upper cervical spine to its natural alignment. This will relieve the spine and neck of pent-up compression tension, allowing the body to reboot its previously compromised healing systems.

However, before your upper cervical chiropractor for seizures can perform any chiropractic adjustments, he will first need to determine whether a patient is suffering from a subluxation in their upper cervical spine. This process typically involves a series of objective chiropractic tests and a Cone Beam CT (CBCT) on the affected area. Once he obtains a reading on the exact location of the misalignment, your upper cervical chiropractor for seizure will perform a series of gentle — this means no cracking, twisting, or pulling — adjustments to realign the affected vertebra.

How to prevent seizures

In many instances, a seizure isn’t preventable. But maintaining a healthy lifestyle can give you the best chance of reducing your risk. For example, you can do the following:

  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Engage in stress-reducing techniques.
  • Don’t take illegal substances.


Suppose you suffer from seizures such as epilepsy. In that case, especially if you have a history of head or neck injury, having your upper cervical spine checked by a specialist who can provide these gentle adjustments if necessary makes sense. This can lead to better overall health and well-being.

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