The Osteopathic Approach to Seizures

Seizures may occur at any stage in life from newborn to
old age. But the etiology or underlying cause may vary from
patient to patient. Rare causes are organic brain

For the child who develops seizures such conditions may
be ruled out by elector-encephalogram, (EEG) computerized
tomography (C.T.) scan or magnetic resonance imaging

Another causative factor may be trauma, a head injury
following a car accident, bicycle accident, football or
other high speed sports mishaps, a fall from a tree, or even
an upper bunk especially if there is a door knob or hard
table obstructing the fall and causing a focal blow to the

Such injuries will be identified in the course of
history-taking and confirmed in many instances by X-ray
(C.T. or M.R.I.). A far more common traumatic factor, and
far less easily identified injury may have occurred during
the process of birth.

The nine months of pregnancy is arranged anatomically and
physiologically to provide the utmost protection to the
developing baby within the mother’s abdomen.

The process of labor whereby the baby is delivered into
this world is also designed to bring the baby into this
world without injury.

However modern “civilization” with high heeled shoes,
refined, processed flavored, colored foods, chemical
solutions in place of wholesome healthy drinks of spring
water, exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace as well
as the stresses on the job may all bring detrimental
influences to the developing baby within mother’s body.

The period of pregnancy may be a healthy, happy, joyous
experience until the expected date of delivery draws near.
Labor begins, or at least the contractions seem like labor.
Contractions continue, somewhat erratically for a few hours
or days only to reveal themselves as false labor. The baby
in the womb has been compressed by the uterine contractions
on his buttocks and sacrum (the large bone at the base of
the spine), and his head may have been compressed as it was
pushed into the pelvis before the birth canal opened to
permit an easy passage.

On the other hand there may have been no false labor, and
the real labor begins according to expectation. Then mother
experiences severe back pain, which suggests that the baby
has turned face forward instead of face backward.

Progress is retarded because this position makes passage
through the birth canal more difficult. This is but one of
the possible traumatic events that can occur during the
birth process and affect the delicate musculoskeletal
mechanism of the baby.

Perhaps you can see that your baby has a crooked or
asymmetrical head, perhaps your baby throws his head back
forcibly and screams. This is like a cramp in the neck, and
it hurts! But these are indications that the delicate
nervous system within the skull and spine has suffered some
degree of trauma.

There are many degrees and varieties of trauma that may
occur during the birth process. Ten percent of babies may
suffer visible, obvious trauma. Ten percent of babies may be
perfect with free physiological motion and function
throughout. But about 80% of new born babies may have less
visible, but nevertheless significant strain factors within
their body mechanism.

Some of these produce microscopic injuries to areas of
the brain which may manifest exteriorly as jerking of
muscles, spasms in parts of the body with or without changes
in consciousness, and even full seizures affecting the whole

Other children may vomit after many feeds or they may
have been slow to learn to suck effectively, they may cry
inconsolably, their muscle tone may be markedly increased,
and tense or limp or flaccid. There are other signs that may
appear later in childhood that indicate that microscopic
injury may have occurred during the birth process, but in
areas of the brain that do not come into full function at
the time of birth.

The osteopathic physician is trained to identify these
subtle changes in the musculoskeletal system and apply
gentle manipulative skills to correct them.

In many instances the neurological problems can be
profoundly benefited by such treatment. The earlier in life
the treatment can be given the better the results.

The magnitude of the brain injury is also a factor in the
degree of response. When a child is diagnosed as having a
seizure disorder various diagnostic tests will be performed
and in many instances anticonvulsant medication will be
prescribed. Progress under osteopathic treatment will be
measured by reduction in intensity and frequency of seizures
and in positive changes in the EEG.

However the objective of treatment regardless of the
intensity or severity or the problem is to enable this child
to function at the maximum of his/her potential.

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Written by Viola Frymann DO FAAO FCA

Explore Wellness in 2021