Epilepsy and Exercise

Epilepsy is correlated with seizures, however the seizures and epilepsy are two very different things. Seizures can occur without being related to epilepsy, as they can occur due to diabetes and other health conditions. In honour of November being Epilepsy Awareness Month, we’re going to explore what you can do to help someone with Epilepsy or being more aware.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder, that involves seizures due to temporary disruption of the electrical signals in the brain. Our brain sends messages for us to think, behave and move, when these electrical currents aren’t functioning properly, they can create a seizure to happen.

How common is epilepsy?

In Australia alone, 250,000 are living with epilepsy and 3% will experience epilepsy at some point in their life. Most often, epilepsy is diagnosed when you’re either a child or as a senior, with a staggering 40% of children being sufferers of epilepsy. There isn’t one form of epilepsy either, for some individuals it can fade overtime or can become a life-long struggle.

Most people are diagnosed with a specific epilepsy syndrome, which helps with the overall treatment process. The difference between forms of epilepsy, depends on factors like age when seizures first begun, type of seizures, response to medication and progression over time. Here are some known causes:

  • Head injury
  • Stroke or brain haemorrhage
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Brain infections
  • Brain tumours
  • Genetics
  • Degenerative conditions affecting the brain

Did you know that physical exercise & quality movement aids Epilepsy management?

Although we know that exercise is good for everyone, it has important benefits for people with epilepsy and can contribute to improved seizure control and the management of the condition. Physical exercise and daily movement rarely triggers seizures in people with the condition.

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.