CHILDRENS PROBLEMS: CONVULSIONS

Convulsions, commonly termed seizures or fits, are an involuntary occurrence of muscular spasm or contraction. There are two types of convulsion: clonic, characterized by alternate contraction and relaxation; and tonic, which is a continuous contraction or spasm.

Convulsions can occur due to any insult on the nervous system, which leads to it sending out massive impulses instructing the muscles to behave incorrectly. Convulsions are most commonly associated with a loss of consciousness.

Occasionally convulsions will occur in association with high temperatures, most commonly in young children below the age of two years. Other causative factors are epilepsy, infections such as meningitis or encephalitis, an adverse drug reaction or food allergy, or lesions such as tumours in the brain.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Have somebody call an ambulance. This request can always be cancelled if the convulsions are minor and/or short-lived.

One convulsion or fit does not represent a serious condition in most cases, but all fits should be reported and examined by a doctor. Referral to a neurological specialist is sometimes required.

Do not restrict someone having a convulsion. Instead, clear the area of solid objects and protect the patient by surrounding with cushions or other soft objects.

If blood is seen to be coming from the mouth, this may be due to biting of the tongue and firm but careful opening of the jaw with an instrument surrounded by a handkerchief or cloth is acceptable. ‘ Upon recovery administer Aconite, potency 30 or lower, every lOmin until recovery is complete or medical attention arrives.

If associated with fever, use cold compresses or a lukewarm bath to lower the temperature , strong electrical currents and stress. Stress may trigger epilepsy through chemical effects of adrenaline and other catecholamines but may also tighten the muscles around the skull leading to cranial osteopathic lesions of the jaw and other skull joints.

Epilepsy is not cured by orthodox treatment. Complementary therapies may be far more efficacious and should therefore be used as early as possible. The danger with epilepsy arises from where the person has the fit rather than from the fit itself. Falling downstairs, driving a car or having a fit when in charge of potentially dangerous tools or instruments require that epilepsy be controlled and therefore orthodox treatment is essential. Any fit should be reviewed by a GP, with referral to a neurological specialist if required, and thereafter monitored by the medical profession with anti-epileptic drugs utilized until the doctor recommends withdrawal.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Any suggestion of epilepsy needs to be fully investigated by a specialist in neurology to rule out any serious cause.

Supervision and the avoidance of any dangerous situations, such as cooking or operating machinery, must be avoided until the problem is solved.

Orthodox medical treatment should be utilized if fits have become frequent, although one fit does not make epilepsy. Alternative treatments may be considered following diagnosis of the cause but should not exclude the possible benefits of orthodox drug treatment.

A set diet from a nutritionist with knowledge of this area is essential. Avoidance of sugar, caffeine, alcohol and artificially sweetened food (saccharine and aspartame) should be strictly adhered to. Canada is currently pioneering a specific nutritional treatment known as the Ketogenic diet, which may become an essential aspect of the treatment of epilepsy. > The brain produces many anticonvulsant chemicals, the most prominent of which is adenosine. This is blocked by theophylline-containing drugs often used by asthmatics. Tea should also be avoided therefore. > To encourage the body’s natural anticonvulsants, an alternative practitioner should be consulted to prescribe the correct dosages of specific amino acids, namely taurine and gamma-aminobutyric acid. High-dose vitamin B complex is also necessary.

Herbal treatments are available as anticonvulsant therapy, but today’s drugs are well-established, generally safe and probably better to use.

Constitutional homeopathic remedies are essential and a homeopath should be consulted.

Craniosacral work, the Alexander technique and polarity therapy should all be considered.

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