Clonic seizures are a very rare form of seizures. In a clonic seizure the arms and legs begin to rapidly jerk. This occurs because the muscles are quickly tensing and relaxing. Typically, an individual will continue on with their normal activity after the seizure ends. People of various ages, including newborns, can experience this seizure. However, it is very uncommon. A less rare form of clonic seizures is tonic-clonic seizures. This occurs when the muscles stiffen before it begins the jerky, spastic movement. After a tonic-clonic seizure a person is usually tired or confused. This does not happen in a clonic seizure. The frequency of clonic seizures varies for each individual.
The cause of clonic seizures is unknown. Seizures are a result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Typically, a doctor can diagnose a clonic seizure if he/she has witnessed it. If not, they diagnose the condition by running a test called electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG checks the brain for unusual electrical activity. Video EEGs are also a useful method for diagnosing clonic seizures. A video EEG allows the doctor to observe the brainwaves on a monitor in real time. There are medications available to help prevent clonic seizures. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with clonic seizures, talk with you doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also good resources for support and information.