According to www.epilepsy.com, one in 26 people in the U.S. will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by recurring seizures, and six out of 10 people who have it are characterized as “cause unknown” by doctors. There are few things scarier than experiencing a seizure out of nowhere. Seizures can cause a range of symptoms, from momentarily staring blankly to loss of awareness and uncontrollable movement. Unfortunately for 20% to 30% of seizure sufferers, anti-convulsive medications don’t work and for a number of others, negative side-effects of the medications impact their quality of life too much.
Now, as upper cervical chiropractors, we are not going to tell you that we specifically treat seizures, but we do locate and correct neurological interference. In fact, scientists have known since the 19th century that applying pressure to the Vagus nerve in the neck can actually stop a seizure. We’ve also known that the alignment of the spine has an effect on the Vagus nerve. The Vagus nerve exits the spine at the base of the skull, in the upper cervical area of the neck. If one of the two bones in this area, the Atlas or the Axis are out of alignment, this is considered to be a “vertebral subluxation,” which can interfere with proper nerve function. In other words, the nervous system is interpreting and processing information incorrectly. By adjusting the upper cervical area, we can stimulate the Vagus nerve, and help balance brain function, which can help with managing seizure occurrence.
It makes sense right? This area of your neck houses the brain stem, as well as the vessels that transmit blood flow for the brain and the cerebrospinal fluid that flows between your brain and your spine. If a misalignment is causing pressure on the nerves, it causes a communication problem between the body and the brain, via the nervous system. Normal brain and nervous system function relies on normal structural integrity and joint movement. So an interference in the alignment of the spine can affect brain function and nervous system function throughout the body. It is this interference or misalignment that we deal with on a daily basis in our office for all kinds of disorders, including ones you may not think about in terms of your neck. These adjustments work to take pressure off the nervous system to allow your nervous system to function at a higher level. This, in turn, can reduce the intensity and frequency of seizures.
The first epileptic patient I had nearly 25 years ago was a little 5-year-old girl who was having between 40-50 seizures A DAY! She was on an adult dosage of phenobarbital, which had little to no effect on the seizures, and the side effects were terrible. She came into our office on a Saturday, but she was having so many seizures we weren’t able to take x-rays. I had them return to the office on Sunday and we were able to get the films we needed to determine how her Atlas (1st bone in the neck) was misaligned. After the first correction, she didn’t have a single seizure for nearly two months, until she fell off a swing. We got her corrected again, and she was seizure free for approximately six weeks, when she fell out of bed. WARNING…it’s NOT a typical response, but it was certainly a life-changer for her and her family. Many patients see gradual improvements in the frequency and severity of their seizures. She eventually moved out of state with her family, but to this day, I think about her and pray she’s a happy and healthy young lady!
If you or someone you love is suffering from seizures, especially if their current medication doesn’t seem to be helping, call today for your free consultation with Drs. Thad and Nikki Vuagniaux at Upper Cervical Care, Glen Carbon IL, 618-692-6992.