Epilepsy / Seizures

Epilepsy and Neck Pain: Could Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Be the Missing Link?

Sarah's hands shook as she reached for another pill. Epilepsy had been her unwelcome companion for years, the unpredictable seizures snatching away any sense of control. Doctors prescribed medication after medication, yet the jolts and blackouts persisted. Sleep was a luxury she couldn't afford, every ache and twinge sparking the fear of another episode. Then, a friend mentioned an alternative approach, a way to possibly address the root of the problem rather than just masking the symptoms: upper cervical chiropractic care.

The idea seemed farfetched at first. Could something as simple as an adjustment to her neck really make a difference where countless medications had failed? Yet, a flicker of hope ignited within Sarah. What if misalignments in her upper neck, those subtle shifts caused by past injuries or even everyday stress, were somehow interfering with her nervous system? What if those misalignments were a missing piece in the puzzle of her epilepsy? Sarah decided it was a chance worth taking.

If you are struggling with epilepsy and seizures and are looking for a way to get to the underlying cause it is important to read this article to understand how head and neck injuries from your past may be contributing to your current symptoms.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a complex neurological disorder characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. A seizure is a surge of abnormal electrical activity in the brain, causing temporary disruptions in how the brain functions. There are different types of seizures, with symptoms ranging from subtle staring spells to full-body convulsions and loss of consciousness.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, approximately 3.4 million people in the United States live with epilepsy. It can impact people of all ages, races, and genders.

Can Your Neck Cause Seizures?

Chronic neck pain is a surprisingly common symptom experienced by many individuals with epilepsy or seizure disorders. While neck pain can stem from various causes like poor posture, stress, or injury, there's growing interest in the potential connection between upper neck misalignments and seizures.

The upper cervical spine (upper neck), consisting of the top two vertebrae in your neck, plays a critical role in protecting your brainstem and facilitating communication between your brain and body. Misalignments in this delicate area can disrupt nerve function, blood flow, and the overall balance of your central nervous system.

Some common symptoms associated with upper cervical misalignments which may also be related to seizure activity include:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms and hands
  • Pinched nerve in your neck

How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Can Help

Upper cervical chiropractic is a specialized branch of chiropractic care focusing on the precise alignment of the upper neck. Upper Cervical Specialists utilize advanced diagnostics and gentle, low-force techniques to correct misalignments in this region.

Here's how upper cervical adjustments could potentially help those with seizure disorders:

  • Improved Nerve Function: Misalignments in the upper neck can create interference with the delicate nerves that pass through the area. Realigning the spine may help restore optimal nerve signaling, potentially reducing the likelihood of neurological disturbances that trigger seizures, epilepsy and neck pain.
  • Enhanced Blood Flow: The upper cervical spine also houses important blood vessels responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Correcting misalignments can help ensure optimal blood flow, promoting overall brain health.
  • Brain Function Support: Research suggests that chiropractic adjustments, especially in the upper cervical area, can improve brain function and neuroplasticity. This could positively impact seizure activity and overall neurological health.

Research on Upper Cervical Care for Epilepsy & Seizures

While the research on upper cervical chiropractic care specifically for seizures, epilepsy and neck pain is primarily based on case studies and patient reports, the findings are encouraging. Several documented cases suggest a potential link between upper cervical adjustments and improvement in seizure frequency and severity.

The research and case studies related to upper cervical chiropractic care for seizures, epilepsy and neck pain are primarily focused on the potential benefits of spinal adjustments in the upper cervical region to alleviate or manage seizure disorders. Here is a summary of the relevant studies and case reports related to seizures, epilepsy and neck pain:

  1. Case Reports and Case Series Related to Seizures, Epilepsy and Neck Pain:
    • Goodman RJ, Mosby JS (1990) reported the cessation of a seizure disorder following the correction of the atlas subluxation complex.
    • Duff BA (1992) documented chiropractic results on a case diagnosed with myoclonic seizures.
    • Hooper S, Manis A (2011) discussed upper cervical care in a nine-year-old female with occipital lobe epilepsy, highlighting significant improvements post-treatment.
    • Sweat R, Adams T (2011) and Sweat R, Pottenger T (2012) both reported cases where post-concussion seizures and other symptoms like ataxia and migraine were resolved following atlas orthogonal technique and precise realignment of the first cervical vertebra.
    • York C (2015) described instantaneous remission of tonic-clonic seizures and unconsciousness after atlas misalignment reduction.
    • Hartenburg M, Denton A (2017) observed resolution of seizures and improvement in quality of life in a 22-year-old female with epilepsy following upper cervical chiropractic care.
  2. Reviews and Literature Surveys Related to Seizures, Epilepsy and Neck Pain:
    • Pistolese RA (2001) conducted a review of literature relative to chiropractic care of children with epilepsy and seizure disorders, suggesting potential benefits from upper cervical adjustments.
    • Elster EL (2004) treated bipolar, seizure, sleep disorders, and migraine headaches utilizing a chiropractic technique, noting improvements in patients' conditions.
  3. Research Studies Related to Seizures, Epilepsy and Neck Pain:
    • Integrative, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine (2023) suggests that chiropractic care might be a potential non-pharmaceutical approach to pediatric epilepsy, although it emphasizes the need for further scientific studies to confirm these findings.

These studies and case reports generally suggest that upper cervical chiropractic care might play a role in managing seizure disorders, particularly by addressing misalignments in the upper cervical spine which could affect neurological functions.

The Upper Cervical Awareness Initiative

Frustrated by the lack of understanding about the impact of upper cervical health, dedicated professionals and patients formed the Upper Cervical Awareness Initiative. This organization is committed to educating the public and the healthcare community about the potential link between upper cervical misalignments and a wide range of health conditions, including epilepsy and seizures.

Through educational resources, research support, and patient advocacy, the Upper Cervical Awareness Initiative is driving awareness about the crucial role the upper neck plays in overall well-being.

Finding the Right Specialist for Epilepsy and Neck Pain

Not all chiropractors are trained and experienced in upper cervical care. If you're considering this approach for epilepsy or seizure management, seeking out an Upper Cervical Specialist is essential. These specialists have undergone additional training focusing on the unique biomechanics, anatomy, and diagnostic procedures of the upper cervical spine. Visit the directory on this site to find an upper cervical chiropractor for epilepsy.

When consulting with potential specialists, inquire about their specific upper cervical training, experience treating seizure disorders, and the diagnostic procedures they employ.

Upper Cervical Chiropractor for Seizures, Epilepsy and Neck Pain

If you have been looking for a chiropractor for seizures an upper cervical specialist may be the answer. While traditional treatments for epilepsy and seizures focus on controlling symptoms through medication, upper cervical chiropractic offers a different perspective. By addressing potential underlying imbalances in the upper neck, it opens up a new avenue for supporting those struggling with these conditions.

Although more extensive scientific research is needed to fully validate the connection, the existing case studies and the potential mechanisms involved make upper cervical care a compelling option to explore. It's important to remember that upper cervical care may not be a solution for everyone, but it might be a vital step in the journey towards better seizure management for some individuals.

If years of medication and traditional treatments have left you feeling discouraged, don't give up hope. Investigating the potential role of upper cervical chiropractic in your seizure disorder could be the key to uncovering a new level of control and wellness. Could upper cervical chiropractic care be the answer to managing your seizures or epilepsy and neck pain?


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Person's neck with graphic showing upper cervical and vertigo issuesPerson's neck with graphic showing upper cervical and vertigo issues

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.