According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological condition in the United States, ranking only behind migraine headaches, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease in terms of occurrence. An estimated 2.2 million American adults suffer from epilepsy. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) states that more than 460,000 children also suffer from epilepsy.
Given these rather high numbers, it should not be surprising that Dr. Horst has treated several patients suffering from epilepsy. Often, these patients have gone through the gamut of incorrect diagnoses and ineffective, or only partially effective, treatments for themselves or their children before coming to see him. Fortunately, chiropractic care can offer safe, non-invasive treatment for epilepsy without any of the serious risks of medication side effects or surgery.
What Is Epilepsy?
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is a seizure disorder, in which the electrical communications between neurons in the brain become disrupted. Patients may experience a variety of symptoms, ranging from dizziness, to rapid blinking, to drooling, to twitching of limbs, depending upon the severity of the seizure. A diagnosis of epilepsy is made if there are two or more seizures within the span of 24 hours without any discernible other explanations, such as low blood sugar or tremors from alcohol or drug withdrawal. Although epilepsy may be related to either a brain injury or heredity, the actual cause is often unknown.
Standard Treatments for Epilepsy?
Medication to manage seizures is the preferred treatment. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, medication usually is effective for as many as 70 percent of epilepsy sufferers. Unfortunately, it can often be somewhat of a medical merry go round in terms of finding the right medication (or combination of medications) at the right dose that will be the most effective. Furthermore, these medications may also come with a host of side effects, including tiredness, upset stomach, dizziness, or blurry vision. In severe cases, liver trouble or failure may result.
For those patients who have not properly responded to either two different individual medications or two medication combinations, surgery may be an option.
Chiropractic Adjustments for Epilepsy
The reason that seizures in the brain can affect other parts of the body, such as the limbs, is due to an interrupted signal between the brain and the nerves leading out from the spinal column. The basic principle of chiropractic care is that vertebral sublaxations, or misalignments of the spine, can adversely affect these nerves. By shifting the vertebrae back into their normal position, pressure on the nerves is released. In the case of epilepsy, adjustments to the cervical spine (neck) can correct the electrical surges in the brain that cause epilepsy. A number of individual case reports and small group studies appear to show a benefit for chiropractic treatment in adults and children suffering from epilepsy.
Epilepsy can be a frustrating condition, both for patients and their families, in terms of finding an effective treatment. Chiropractic may offer the solution to treating those who suffer from this sometimes baffling condition.