The Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published a case study on April 5, 2018, documenting the reduction of epileptic absence seizures and self-aggression behavior in a male toddler following chiropractic care. This type of seizure is more common in children.
Absence seizures are a type of seizure where the victim can slip into a state of unaware staring. During this time, they are unresponsive and can seem to be staring off into space. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, Absence Seizures “…are a type of generalized onset seizures, meaning they begin in both sides of the brain at the same time. An older term is petit mal seizures. They begin and end abruptly, lasting only a few seconds. Absence seizures can be so brief they sometimes are mistaken for daydreaming and may not be detected for months.”
In this case, a 3-year-old baby boy was brought to a chiropractic teaching clinic by his parents for consultation and possible care. For the past two years, the boy had been suffering with absence seizures. When the boy was 1-year-old, his parents would find him staring into space. His parents would attempt to talk to him or snap their fingers in front of his face, but he would be non-responsive for 15-20 seconds. Once the seizure ended, the boy would just resume the activity he was doing prior to the event.
By the time the boy was 2-years-old, these seizures became more frequent and were happening about five times per day. After his second birthday, the seizures became more violent being described as, “…he began having clonic seizures where he would stare off and his arms would quickly jerk back and forth, bending at the elbows and going back and forth across his body for approximately 15-20 seconds.” At the conclusion of these seizures, the boy would once again resume his prior activity. When he began to talk, the episodes could interrupt him in mid-sentence. Afterward, he would just continue his sentence. It was reported that the boy was never aware of his seizures. As time went on, the boy started hitting himself in his head with his fists between 5 to 10 times per day.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included static and motion palpation of the spine and spinal musculature, as well as spinal thermal scans, and postural leg length checks. Based upon the examination, it was determined that there was a subluxation present at the first cervical vertebrae (C1) located at the top of the neck. With the consent of the parents, a specific chiropractic adjustment was given to the boy to address the C1 subluxation. Following the adjustment, rechecks of the initial exam finding were performed to verify that the adjustment was effective. The boy was scheduled to receive 2 adjustments per week for the following eight weeks.
After the first adjustment, the study records that the boy did not experience any seizures that day. Over the next two weeks, the number of seizures had reduced from five to only two per day. After eight weeks, the boy’s parents reported that their son was only having one absence seizure every other day. They also reported that their son was no longer hitting his head with his fists.
The authors of this study also reviewed additional studies on the subject of epileptic seizures and chiropractic care. They noted that numerous other studies also found similar results in patients with seizure problems. They commented that this study adds to the body of evidence supporting chiropractic care for patients suffering from seizures. “This case report provides supporting evidence on the effectiveness of chiropractic care in abating the frequency and intensity of epileptic seizures in infants.”