Painful Seizures: a Review of Epileptic Ictal Pain

  • Sean T. HwangEmail author
  • Tamara Goodman
  • Scott J. Stevens
Hot Topics in Pain and Headache (N Rosen, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Hot Topics in Pain and Headache


Purpose of Review

To summarize the literature regarding the prevalence, pathophysiology, and anatomic networks involved with painful seizures, which are a rare but striking clinical presentation of epilepsy.

Recent Findings

Several recent large case series have explored the prevalence of the main cephalgic, somatosensory, and abdominal variants of this rare disorder. Research studies including the use of electrical stimulation and functional neuroimaging have demonstrated the networks underlying painful somatosensory or visceral seizures. Improved understanding of some of the overlapping mechanisms between migraines and seizures has elucidated their common pathophysiology.


The current literature reflects a widening range of awareness and understanding of painful seizures, despite their rarity.


Ictal Pain Somatosensory Abdominal Headache Seizure 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sean T. Hwang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tamara Goodman
    • 1
  • Scott J. Stevens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyZucker School of Medicine at Hofstra NorthwellHempsteadUSA

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