Posts Tagged trigger

[VIDEO] Flooding – Becoming Overwhelmed After Brain Injury – YouTube

Welcome to the Northern Brain Injury Association’s webcast on ‘flooding’, created to help you assist survivors of brain injury who are experiencing flooding by teaching them to identify their triggers, control their exposure and manage their anxiety. For more webcasts on issues faced by survivors of brain injury, visit




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[WEB SITE] Epilepsy and Stress-Related Seizures

Are your seizures triggered by stress? You’re not alone. Stress is a hot topic on MyEpilepsyTeam, where members talk about their challenges managing life’s ups-and-downs with epilepsy.

“Stress is definitely one of my biggest triggers,” said one member, echoing the comments of many others in the community. Another observed: “Just about everyone on this site has issues with stress. The inability to handle it is what we all have in common.”

What triggers members’ stress seizures?
Whether it’s brought on by a major life event, or a buildup of everyday challenges, stress affects each person differently. Members of MyEpilepsyTeam share what triggers their stress – and seizures. They include:

Major life events. Divorce, death, caretaking, and other major life changes can trigger seizures. One man reported a “higher than normal stress level” and recurrence of seizures after losing his job of 14 years. Another blamed a recent seizure on stress associated with her father’s death. The stress of caring for an ill parent – and “having a lot on my plate” – caused another member to seize.

Family Relationships. Stressful or abusive family dynamics can “unlock” seizures – as some members call it – and even increase their frequency.

“My brother stressed me out so much as a child, the doctor said it ‘unlocked’ my stress seizures,” shared one member of MyEpilepsyTeam. “Going through a rough time with alcoholic family members caused lots of stress, and my seizures acted up,” explained another. One woman added: “I had loads of seizures until I divorced my husband. I’ve been seizure-free ever since.”

Other Relationships. Being around difficult, toxic, or insensitive people is stressful for everyone, but even more so for those prone to seizures. “When I’m around someone who makes me feel anxiety or depression, I get a seizure,” reported one member. “Being around people who don’t understand – and always ask if you’re alright – makes me so nervous,” said another.

Holidays. End of year festivities can trigger stress – and depression – for some MyEpilepsyTeam members. “I know there’s an increased chance of triggering a seizure during high-stress times of year like Christmas, with the additional stress of getting all the gift shopping done on time,” explained one man.

Sleep, alcohol, and other stress triggersUnhealthy habits are not only physically and mentally draining, they also cause excessive activity in the brain that can trigger a seizure. “My doctor says there are five things our brain does not like – lack of sleep, low sugar, stressful situations, missing medications, alcohol, and street drugs,” explained one member. “Our brains can only take so much stress,” added another.

Managing Stress with Epilepsy
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, nine out of 10 people who actively manage their stress say it has reduced their risk of seizures. Members of MyEpilepsyTeam talk about the ways they reduce anxiety.

Starting therapy or counseling. Therapy, biofeedback, and music and arts therapy are just some of the therapeutic approaches to managing stress in people with epilepsy.

Counseling helped one member “out of a big slump” as a teenager. “Not only was it therapeutic, but I learned much more about epilepsy itself. It made it easier to cope,” she said. Finding a therapist who understands epilepsy is important, noted one member. “You may have to see several until you find the right connection. Not everyone is easy to talk to.”

Setting boundaries. Avoiding stressful situations is key for people with epilepsy. “I now stay away from my parents’ place, since that’s where most of my stress comes from,” explained one member. “I just do my best to stay positive and brush off the negatives as best I can,” wrote one woman. Another proclaimed: “I refuse to give anyone or anything control over me.”

Starting an exercise or relaxation routine. A daily practice of meditation, yoga, music, massage, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques can cultivate healthier responses to stressful situations. Mindfulness – which trains the mind to focus on the present moment – has proven to be an effective stress management tool for people with epilepsy.

“I’m doing lots of exercising: Walking, morning stretching, and sometimes some yoga, if possible,” said one member of MyEpilepsyTeam. Another shared, “I use yoga to calm me down. Thirty minutes a day after work helps me loads.” Using a relaxing essential oil helps another member stay focused during his “time outs.”

One man with a daily yoga and meditation practice said, “Now I’m clear, no more seizures. I can’t emphasize enough, when we take back control by not allowing issues in life to get the best of us, a huge 180-degree turn happens.”

Getting Support. Being part of an active and supportive community – such as MyEpilepsyTeam – is important to managing the stress that triggers seizures. “The creation of this network was the greatest gift to all of us who have seizure disorders,” said one grateful member. Added another, “We understand each other here and what we go through each day.”

Taking medication on schedule. The number-one reported cause of increased seizures is missed medications. And taking medications on schedule is the most important ways to prevent them. “I’m lucky – medication controls my seizures,” said a MyEpilepsyTeam member who sticks to his prescription.

On MyEpilepsyTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with epilepsy, members talk about a range of personal experiences including stress and seizures.

Here are some questions-and-answers about stress and seizures:

Here are some conversations about stress and seizures:

Can you relate? Have another topic you’d like to discuss or explore? Go to MyEpilepsyTeam today and start – or join – a conversation. You’ll be surprised how many others share similar stories.

via Epilepsy and Stress-Related Seizures | MyEpilepsyTeam

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[WEB SITE] Investigating how epilepsy is triggered after a brain injury: Final Report

Posted Nov 1 2018 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

This is the final report for a 2015 project grant for £147,334 awarded to Professor Andy Trevelyan, Dr Ryley Parrish, Dr Claudia Racca, and Dr Simon Cockell at Newcastle University. 

In some cases of brain injury such as stroke, or brain trauma, people will go on to develop epilepsy. We know a little about how this happens – it can involve the death of brain cells and other rewiring of the circuits in the brain, as well as changes in which proteins are made by the brain cells, which in turn affects their function. However, we don’t understand how or why these changes happen, and more particularly how they might be prevented to stop epilepsy developing.

This project aimed to explore how a brain injury can lead to changes in how brain cells function. The research team discovered a notable feature of the rewiring, which is that one particular type of brain cell, the pyramidal cell, dictates what changes are made to the network.

High levels of pyramidal activity lead to a reduction in levels of a specific protein that is important for brain cell inhibition, whereas low levels of pyramidal activity cause the opposite change – an increase in these inhibitory proteins.

Professor Trevelyan and colleagues believe this may provide a means to understand the complexity of the brain changes that are associated with the development of epilepsy, and perhaps even a means to prevent it from happening.

Professor Trevelyan said: “This project has enabled us to further extend our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms by which seizures develop, and how the brain networks respond to these extreme periods of activity. We have uncovered important regulatory pathways which we hope will open up new avenues for treating the condition. On a personal level, the funding was also critical in allowing me to keep a key member of my research team, Dr Ryley Parrish. It is incredibly helpful for the research if we can maintain a research team together, because research is a slow process, and requires committed people who have been trained over many years. Only then can we start to make real inroads into understanding this difficult and complex condition.”


via Investigating how epilepsy is triggered after a brain injury: Final Report | Epilepsy Research UK

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[BLOG POST] Motor Control • What Does it Do – Clinical Education

Motor Control / Muscle Activation / Motor Re-education, whatever you might want to call it — is one of the crucial keys to a successful rehabilitation program especially in sports medicine rehabilitation but is often times overlooked by many clinicians.

What Happens After Injury and How it relates to Motor Control?

Injury causes chemical pain and swelling, both of which have inhibitory effect on muscle’s ability to contract.

“Persistent pain alone will cause muscle weakness due to decrease in neural output” — P. Brukner & K. Khan

Motor ControlTherefore, muscle conditioning or motor control must commence after initial injury along with pain and inflammation management. This process or treatment aims to teach the patient how to activate those muscles that are inhibited following an injury. For example, following a shoulder impingement injury, local stabilizers of the shoulder like the supraspinatus are inflamed and inhibited. Athletes or clients should be taught how to activate and control that damaged muscle before proceeding to other forms of muscle conditioning and/or strengthening.

I have been blessed to grew up in a university and clinics which taughts and applies the practice of activating first the local stabilizers of the body is the first priority rather than taking theshortcut of activating global muscles thinking that if global muscles are activated so do the local stabilizers. But sadly, it is not always the case. I am devastated to see so many clinics trying to fire up global muscles without knowing if local stabilizers are right on point before firing their guns.

“It’s like pulling the trigger of a gun without positioning the gun first to hit it’s target.”

It is important to differentiate what a global muscles and local muscles are. Global muscles are the large, torque-producing muscles, whereas local muscles are responsible for local stability. For example, in the shoulder region, global muscles are your deltoids & upper trapezius, while local muscles are your rotator cuff like supraspinatus and infraspinatus. In the recent years of study, there has been an increasing understanding of the important role of activating first the local stabilizers of the joint before the torque producing global muscles.

When There is No Motor Control..

When there is no motor control, there is a incorrect motor patterning syndrome, especially after injury.

Clinical Sports Medicine BookAccording to the book, Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine (Mcgraw Medical)..“Rehabilitation of these incorrect motor patterning syndrome relies on careful assessment of the pattern of movement, theindividual strength, function of the involved muscles and the flexibility of the muscles and joints. As this abnormal movement pattern has been developed over a lengthy period, it is necessary for the patient to learn a new movement pattern. This takes time and patience.The movement should be broken down into components and the patient must initially learn to execute each component individually.Eventually, the complete correct movement pattern will be learned.”


How To Do Motor Control? Tips and Tricks.

As I practice in clinics, I always use cuing and tactile / verbal feedback to facilitate control of desired movements. For me to feel if the right muscle is being activated I always palpate 2 groups of muscles. One is the muscle in which I want to control or facilitateand another are the groups of muscles which I do not want to be substituting during motor learning. I find this effective in facilitating motor control. Other techniques I use are visualization of the correct muscle action. Also, I often times demonstrate and describe the muscle action to the patient. One technique which I haven’t used yet because it is so time consuming, but I think will be more effective is to have anatomical illustrations of the muscles involved around what you want to monopolize. Use of instructions that cue the correct action also helps. For example, phrases like “pull your navel towards towards your spine” to facilitate control of transversus abdominis. One of the best advise that I would give is to focus on precision. The patient has to concentrate and focus on the precise muscle action to be achieved. It should be stressed that activation of the muscles should be a gentle action. Other muscles should remain relaxed during this localize exercise.

Once again..

“Do not pull the trigger of gun without positioning the gun first to hit it’s target.”


  • Clinical Sports Medicine Revised 3rd Edition by Peter Brukner and Karim Khan

I like to hear it from you. What are your thoughts on these? Do you agree or disagree?

via Clinical Education • Motor Control – What Does it Do

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[WEB SITE] Stress and Epilepsy – Epilepsy Foundation


  • Seizures and epilepsy affect all ages. While they tend to occur for the first time in young children or older adults, each age group has unique concerns and problems.
  • We aren’t sure just why stress may trigger a seizure.
  • While there is no definite evidence that reducing stress help seizures, a recent study showed that nearly 9 in 10 people who actively managed their stress believed it reduced their risk of seizures.
  • Try to avoid stressful situations if it makes sense to do so, and if you can avoid it.

Stress is one of the most common seizure triggers for people with epilepsy.


How often does stress trigger seizures?

It’s hard to know exactly how often stress triggers seizures, since stress means something different to everyone. It’s also hard to judge how much of an effect stress has on a person.

Stress comes in different forms and has a different meaning for everyone. It can come from a major life event or from more everyday activities that can potentially put us in a bad mood. Some studies have found that major life stressors, either good or bad, could affect seizures. Others have found that a build up of ‘daily hassles’ or stress seems to be more important. Since people are very different, it’s likely that stress can affect people in different ways at different times of their life.

VIDEO: Dr. Michael Privitera, MD talks about the relationship of stress and epilepsy, and an innovative new study to explore how stress reduction may also reduce seizures. 

How does stress trigger seizures?

We aren’t sure just why stress may trigger a seizure. Stress is an expected and unavoidable part of life. It is our body’s reaction to any change that requires a physical and emotional response. Stress is known to cause worry, depression, frustration and even anger. Stress may affect people in many ways. Consider the following:

  • Stress makes or releases certain hormones related to the nervous system that can impact the brain.
  • Areas of the brain important for some types of seizures, for example partial seizures, are the same areas of the brain involved in emotions and responding to stress.
  • Stress can cause problems sleeping which is also a seizure trigger.
  • Chronic stress can lead to anxiety or depression. Sleep problems are symptoms of these mood problems. Being anxious and depressed can also worsen stress, causing a vicious cycle with more seizures and mood problems.

What can I do to manage stress and prevent seizures?

While there is no definite evidence that reducing stress help seizures, a recent study showed that nearly 9 in 10 people who actively managed their stress believed it reduced their risk of seizures. Common sense tells us that if something is bothering you, see what you can do to avoid it or make it better.

Managing stress is very personal and specific to your situation; however, there are some universal activities and recommendations.

  • Use a diary and write down what’s likely to cause stress for you.
  • Try to avoid stressful situations if it makes sense to do so, and if you can avoid it! If you can’t avoid it, can you let go of the worry it’s causing you?
  • When a stressful situation is unavoidable, make sure you are doing your best to get enough sleep and take your seizure medications on time.
  • Find ways to diffuse a situation. Avoid people who cause anger and anxiety if you can. Try to approach them differently – it may help calm down the stressful situation.
  • Exercise regularly. Lots of research has shown the exercise helps lower stress.
  • Do your best to relax. Try exercise, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, a massage, cat naps, or relaxation and controlled breathing techniques.
  • Limit long naps during the day. Sleeping during the day will cause sleep problems at night and make people feel worse.
  • Keep to a daily routine. Pace yourself and take frequent breaks.
  • Set priorities for what is important in your life and let the rest go.
  • Seek help. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or counselor. Let them know what’s bothering you.
    • Make sure the epilepsy team knows that stress is affecting your seizures.
    • Seek counseling or psychotherapy. If you think you may have anxiety or depression, talk to you doctor about treatment options.
    • Join a support group or online support community. Reach out to the Epilepsy Foundation affiliate near you.
Authored by: Michael Privitera, MD | Sheryl Haut, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN | Joseph I. Sirven, MD on 7/2013
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 3/2014

Source: Stress and Epilepsy | Epilepsy Foundation

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