New Research on Chiropractic, Epilepsy & Seizures in Children

Research News Staff
New Research on Chiropractic, Epilepsy & Seizures in Children

Child Avoids Brain Surgery with Chiropractic

Recent research reporting on improvement in a 4 year old child undergoing chiropractic care reveals that chiropractic could play an important role in managing brain related neurological disorders such as seizures and epilepsy. 

The research, reported in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic, discussed a case of a 4 year old child who was experiencing three seizures per day. He had been diagnosed with intractable frontal lobe epilepsy at the age of eighteen-months by a neurologist. Seizures could not be controlled with the use of antiepileptic drugs. Epilepsy is a recurrent disorder marked by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and the brain” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. “Basic science research shows that the proper development and function of the brain relies on proper structure and movement of the spine from an early age.” 

Research has shown not only that the developing brain relies on normal structural integrity and joint movement, but that complex neurochemical communication and pathways involved in helping humans to adapt to their environment and even to “feel good” are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways. 

“It makes perfect sense when you think about it” stated Dr. McCoy. “The brain constantly needs and wants to know where our body is in space. If there is interference with the neurological communication between the spine and the brain all sorts of malfunctions can occur.” 

Researchers studying the connection between chiropractic and neurological disorders believe that these types of functional disorders have their root in abnormal spinal development.    

“There are very important functional relationships between the spine and the brain that if disturbed can result in a host of problems with how the brain functions” remarked Dr. McCoy. According to McCoy “The nervous system needs the constant stimulation of movement in order to develop and function properly. Abnormal position or movement of the spinal vertebra can develop and this can lead to nerve interference. It is this interference, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.” 

The child reported on in this study was a four-year-old male who was suffering with daily seizures since birth. The mother reported that her goal in seeking care was to improve the child’s quality of life by reducing the frequency of his seizure activity. 

The patient was previously evaluated by his pediatrician and a pediatric neurologist. Diagnostic testing included computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), EEG, and blood work. The patient was prescribed Trileptal, an anti-epileptic drug. After seeing no significant decrease in the patient’s epileptic activity, the pediatric neurologist switched the patient’s medication from Tiletal to Keppra, another anti-epileptic drug. However, the patient was weaned off of this medication due to the development of speech problems as a side effect. After weaning off of Keppra, the patient was prescribed Dilantin, an anti-epileptic drug. He was on this particular medication for four years before switching to a combination of Lamictal, an anti-epileptic drug, and Phenobarbital, a barbiturate. Following multiple failed medication trials, the patient was diagnosed with intractable frontal lobe epilepsy. A positron emission tomography (PET) scan was ordered, which revealed seizure activity occurring bilaterally in the left and right frontal lobes. 

A frontal lobectomy was recommended by the neurologist from the findings of the PET scan. 

The mother sought a second opinion from a chiropractor who found vertebral subluxation in the upper neck and proceeded to check the child regularly and performed adjustments when necessary. 

Over a period of seven months and fifty-eight visits, the patient received twenty-six adjustments. His parents noticed improvements in the patient’s balance, speech, and a significant decrease in eye rolling. His seizures have reduced to three or four per week. He has shown significant improvement in coordination, speech, and overall quality of life. 

The authors call for more research on the effects of subluxation reduction on seizure activity and epilepsy.          

Contact formation:

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH

Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic

McCoy Press