Seizures – what you need to know…


Seizures and Upper Cervical Care

Seizures are a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain causing temporary abnormalities in muscle tone or movements, behaviours, sensations or states of awareness. Seizures present differently for each person and can have multiple causes. For some people it is a single event due to an acute cause; however when seizures are recurring this is known as epilepsy.

Seizure symptoms can vary and may include:
*A sudden change in awareness or full loss of consciousness
*Unusual sensations or thoughts
*Involuntary twitching
*Stiffness in the body
*Severe stiffening and limb shaking with loss of consciousness (convulsions)

There are 2 major classes of seizure; focal onset and generalised onset. Each type of seizure usually has different causes, so it is important to identify these differences in order to help identify the cause.

Focal-onset Seizures

Focal, or Partial seizures begin in one part of the brain, these are caused by anything that leaves scar tangles, for example trauma, stroke, or meningitis. Developmental scars can be another cause of focal seizures in children.

Symptoms of focal seizures can range from being mild to severe depending on how much of the brain is involved. Minor symptoms referred to as an aura causes people to have altered feelings or a sense that something is about to happen. If the abnormal electrical activity involves a large area of the brain the person may feel dazed or confused, or experience minor shaking, muscle stiffening, or fumbling or chewing motions. Focal seizures that cause altered awareness are called focal unaware seizures or complex partial seizures.

If the electrical activity remains in one part of the brain it results in a focal aware seizure, or simple partial seizure. The person is aware of what is happening, and may notice unusual sensations and movements.

Generalised-onset Seizures

Generalised-onset seizures are surges of abnormal nerve activity throughout the brain at the same time, commonly caused by an imbalance in the inhibitory and excitatory circuits in the brain.

Primary types of generalised-onset seizures:

Absence Seizures
Childhood absence epilepsy usually starts between age 4 and 6.
Characterised by staring into space, or subtle body movements, such and
blinking or lip smacking
Can occur in clusters and cause brief loss of awareness, usually lasts 5-10 seconds
Children usually grow out of these.
Juvenile absence epilepsy starts slightly later and can persist into adulthood.

Myoclonic seizures
These consist of sudden body or limb jerks that can involve arms, head and neck.
Spasms occur in clusters on both sides of the body
Normally develops in adolescence along with tonic-clonic seizures
People can have these as part of other epilepsy related conditions

Tonic seizures
Stiffening of the muscles in the back, arms and legs
May cause loss of consciousness
May cause the person to fall to the ground

Atonic seizures
Also known as drop seizures
Cause loss of muscle control
May cause the person to fall down, or drop their head

Clonic seizures
Associated with repeated jerking muscle movements
Usually affect the neck, face, and arms on both sides of the body

Tonic-clonic seizures
The most dramatic type of epileptic seizure
Can cause abrupt loss of consciousness, body stiffening and shaking, and sometimes loss of bladder control or biting their tongue
May last for several minutes

Some people experiencing seizures have seen benefits under upper cervical chiropractic care, however we do not claim to treat seizures. Our focus is to assess the relationship between the spine and nervous system which it protects, and address any issues we find to ensure proper function is restored.

If you would like to find out more or have any questions get in touch and head over to our 'what to expect' section

For further information on Epilepsy see

Leave a Comment