OBJECTIVE: To describe the chiropractic management of a patient presenting with complaints of low back pain and epileptic seizures. The discussion also addresses epilepsy and the current concepts of this disorder; possible mechanisms for the neurological effects of the chiropractic adjustment at sites of subluxation and its therapeutic implications are proposed.
CLINICAL FEATURES: A 21-year-old woman with low back pain reported that she had fainted during the night and hit her head. She had been diagnosed since childhood with grand mal (tonicclonic) seizures as well as petit mal seizures. She had a seizure approximately every 3 hr, with a duration between 10 sec and 30 min for each episode. Examination indicated signs of subluxation/dysfunction at the L5-S1, C6-C7 and C3-C4 spinal levels. There was no evidence of cranial nerve involvement or any upper motor neuron lesion. Radiographic analysis revealed retrolisthesis of L5, hypolordosis of the cervical spine and hyperextension of the C6-C7 motion segment.
INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME: Chiropractic adjustments using a specific-contact, short-lever arm, high-velocity, low-amplitude maneuver (i.e., Gonstead) were applied to the subluxations at the cervical, thoracic and lumbopelvic region. The patient's reported low back pain and neck complaints improved and her seizure frequency decreased. At 1.5-yr follow-up, the patient reported her low back complaints had resolved and her seizures had decreased (period between seizures as great as 2 months).
CONCLUSION: Results encourage further investigation of possible neurological sequalae, such as epileptic seizures, from spinal dysfunction identified as vertebral subluxation complexes by chiropractors and treated by specific spinal adjustments.
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