Epilepsy is a relatively common condition affecting about 2.5 million Americans, with 125,000 new diagnoses annually. Nearly 9% of the general population will have at least one seizure during their lives. Symptoms include convulsions, staring, muscle spasms, odd feelings, or episodes of impaired consciousness. Seizures that occur more than once are called epilepsy.
Epilepsy occurs as a result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Brain cells communicate by sending electrical signals in an organized and orderly pattern. In epilepsy, these electrical signals become abnormal, giving rise to an “electrical storm” that produces seizures.
The cause of epilepsy and seizure disorders is not well understood by the healthcare community, yet researchers continue to focus on trauma as a key cause. Regardless of age, an injury to the head or trauma to the neck and/or upper back can play a key role in the development of seizures.
According to the Physician’s Desk Reference, the traditional drugs used to treat seizure disorders and epilepsy are associated with many adverse side effects; a number of them are potentially dangerous.
A study published by the American Family Physician states that many of the drugs used to treat seizures and epilepsy fail to adequately control seizures, and 25 to 40% of patients with epilepsy continue to have seizures despite treatment with traditional antiepileptic drugs. Up to 61% of patients with seizures report having side effects with antiepileptic drugs. Newer antiepileptic drugs may be more effective, but their potential for serious side effects requires careful consideration of the risks verses benefits.