Autism is becoming more and more common in children and according to CDC reports, almost 1 in every 88 children suffers from autistic specific disorder ASD (making an overall prevalence of about 1% in United States). It has been reported that almost 33% (one-third) of all autistic children have a tendency of developing epilepsy. Besides autism, almost 2 million Americans suffer from a seizure disorder as a result of trauma, surgery, injury or congenital or acquired defects of spinal region (or brain) that may present with epilepsy (almost 1,25,000 new epilepsy cases are reported each year) that can affect the quality of life and is an economic burden on the society.
Epilepsy refers to an increase tendency in patients to develop seizures. Seizure activity is the physical manifestation of uncoordinated, excessive nervous activity (marked by excessive neural discharge) in brain. The increase in nervous activity may last for seconds or may be a minute; however, physical manifestations may vary depending upon the area of brain affected.
Seizure activity affects 1% of all autistic children at about 1 year of age and as the baby grows, the risk of seizure activity increases (at 5 year of age, the risk is 15% and at 10 years, risk increases to 25%). Ironically, as the child grows, the risk increases progressively and only 15% show a mild degree of remission in adulthood. During a seizure activity, the baby may develop involuntary and violent limb activity, generalized shaking movements of the body, tongue biting, incontinence of urine or feces, changes in behavior and alteration in the level of consciousness post-seizure. Seizure activity in any individual (regardless of age, sex or genetic composition) carries a significant risk of complications that may prove life threatening due to aspiration of gastric contents.
Chiropractic manipulation is a helpful method for the management of seizure activity in autistic children as evidenced by a number of research studies and clinical trials conducted worldwide. Subluxation of the spine is one of the frequently reported issues in autistic children and it is associated with the abnormal flow of information and nervous activity in the form of nerve impulses that may increase the risk of seizures.
Chiropractic adjustment helps in the correction of subluxation of the spine that reconnects the brain and spinal cord with rest of the body and allows uninterrupted flow of nervous activity. RA Pistolese discusses the results of his research conducted on 17 pediatric aged children and revealed that 15 of 17 patients recovered after upper cervical correction by chiropractic manipulation for correction of cervical subluxation.
Chiropractic therapy is equally effective in children as well as adults and for the management of primary issues leading to epilepsy other than autism. J. Alcantara reported another case study of a 21 year old female who was a known case of grand-mal seizure activity and chronic backaches. Her evaluation revealed spinal subluxation at 3 locations and severe impairment of spinal neuronal connectivity indicated by multiple and frequent episodes of seizures in one day. Her chiropractor performed low amplitude, high velocity manipulation along the 3 spinal locations and almost 1.5 year post-therapy, the female reported complete resolution of her back pain and tremendous improvement in the seizures (with latent period of as high as 2 months in between the seizure activity).
Chiropractic therapy is also helpful in managing a number of other neurological issues besides seizure activity. Spinal subluxation is a cause of many evident or hidden medical or neurological issues that include depression, sleep disorder, bipolar disorder, migraine headaches and mood disorders. Other than that, chiropractic therapy helps in relieving chronic pain syndromes and improves physical range of motion and systemic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
For best results, it is better to speak to your healthcare professional regarding the potential benefits of chiropractic therapy in your loved-ones. Chiropractic care is an emerging non-pharmaceutical approach to manage and treat epileptic seizures in pediatric aged children and young adults.