Of all things, physical pain is often dreaded by most people. Especially pain when it is excruciating and mind numbing as that of trigeminal neuralgia. People who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia experience pain which is electric shock-like or stabbing in nature. Trigeminal neuralgia can make seem a touch as light as feather on your face to be unbearable.
What is trigeminal neuralgia and what are the causes of this disease?
If you are trying to spot the trigeminal nerve it is actually the 5th cranial nerve. It is, in fact, the largest of these nerves, and is directly linked from the brain to your face.
- This nerve is the reason why you feel sensations in your face, and this nerve enables movements of the mouth such as chewing and swallowing.
- The causes of Trigeminal neuralgia are mostly put down as impairment of the normal function of any associated nerve.
- Often, you will find a blood vessel which will put pressure on the nerve somewhere along the pathway from the brain to the face. This leads to the malfunctioning of the nerve. The affected nerve creates a searing, electric shock-like pain in the face.
- Some of the other causes of trigeminal neuralgia are a tumor pressing on the nerve or multiple sclerosis.
- However, TN can also result fromno concrete causes and is mostly found to affect people who are over 40, and it affects mostly women.
At first, the attacks are short-lived but as time passes, the attacks last for a longer duration and are really painful. Some of the common triggers for a TN attack are brushing teeth, shaving, chewing, smiling, and putting on makeup, the wind blowing on your face and so on.
Common Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia and treatment options
Trigeminal neuralgia pain can gradually last for days together, even weeks. The pain is felt on the jaw, gums, teeth, cheek, and lips.
Sometimes this excruciating pain can even be felt in the eye or on the forehead. Some people may experience debilitating pain on just one side of the face. Instead of getting better, the discomfort increases with time.
Your condition is diagnosed by asking questions. Your doctor is much likely to ask you several questions, they range from the kind of pain you are suffering from, the areas you feel the pain, and when you feel it.
The next step is to undergo some neurological tests to test the trigeminal nerve. Your doctor may also ask you to undergo an MRI. Some common treatments may include muscle relaxants, anti-seizure medications, and certain kinds of anti-depressants too. Other possible treatments include surgery to sever the nerve and rhizotomy, which damages the nerve fibers.
How does acupuncture evaluate and treat trigeminal neuralgia?
Doctors diagnose it as Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) but victims refer to it as the “Suicide Disease.”
You might be one of the thousands of people who are suffering from this severe nerve condition, and yet are clueless about the treatment considering how little is known about it. If you speak about the disease amidst people you will be greeted with blank stares.
Innumerable pain-killers yet little relief; that is Fothergill’s Disease or Trigeminal Neuralgia in a nutshell. The purpose of this article is to help those thousands of TN sufferers who endure the pain silently. Since acupuncture is a drug-free option, it will be more acceptable to patients.
Sometimes even with elaborate medical procedures like surgery, patients get little or no respite. It is why perhaps you haven’t got results from either pain medications, which can only attempt to mask the extreme pain that can be set off by even the slightest touch, laughing, chewing or brushing teeth and so on.
The drugs prescribed are sometimes meant to treat seizures or depression. So instead of addressing the underlying causes, all it does is take care of the symptoms, only the pain. The pain of trigeminal neuralgia is usually caused by interference to the trigeminal nerve. The fifth cranial nerve usually transmits pain and other sensations from the brain to your face and it also includes the surface of your eye.
This nerveis associated with chewing muscles, along with the sensations of pressure and temperature. It is diagnosed by the help of MRI, CT scans, and various otherneurological technologies and does not reveal any physical evidence to diagnose the pain.
Tests can onlydiagnose such as a tumor or other growths. Although there are various hypotheses being bandied about in the medical fraternity regarding the causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia, there has been no agreement on this.
Trigeminal neuralgia is actually a name that is given to a set of symptoms. It is so much more than just a mouthful of a name. Your options of treatment are rather limited. So, when you get to know of a few treatment options other than drugs and surgery, you find a new beacon of hope.
Realistic Hope for Relief without Drugs or Surgery
Each patient is unique, and clearly needs different treatment requirements, but I will address the methods by which people have commonly achieved some superlative results.
Non-invasive Upper Neck Corrective Procedures
Blockage of blood vessels and/or nerves at the base of the skull is what causes TN. Here are some of the treatment options you must try.
Auricular Therapy or Specialized Ear Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been particularly successful in treating sufferers of TN. Chinese medical practitioners have successfully treated many people suffering from TN. The extent of success, of course, is largely dependent on the patient, the skill of the practitioner and the methods being used.
1. Auricular Therapy
Originally developed in France, Auricular Therapy is a sub-specialty of acupuncture. The famed neurologist, Paul Nogier, MD developed this therapy. This method is especially suitable for people who are suffering from incurable chronic pain which includes trigeminal neuralgia.
2. Cold Laser Therapy
Cold laser therapy, also known as Low-Level Light Therapy, has been particularly helpful in treating trigeminal neuralgia patients. What works in favor of this treatment is that it is safe, completely painless, and pretty non-invasive in nature as it works on the cellular level.
3. Homeopathic Bio-energetic Supplementation
Homeopathic medicine is also successful in treating patients successfully. These are patient specific and uses Homeopathic type supplements that involve electromagnetic frequencies and does not use chemicals.
The pain of trigeminal neuralgia can be successfully curbed with acupuncture. Sometimes herbal medicines are also used in treating trigeminal neuralgia pain. When you cannot seek acupuncture, you can then resort to herbal medicine and certain Chinese herbs, which are greatly helpful in curbing strong pain.
How do Acupuncture and herbal medicine help in treating TN? Are they used in conjunction in correcting the pattern of disharmony to bring about a normal balance to the body?
The answer to the question is simple, restoring the balance is what relieves pain and other symptoms. It is perhaps sensible to remember that pain cannot disappear in one treatment, so patience is key.
It is also true that the pain-numbing effects of acupuncture work together and with successive treatments. The pain gradually reduces and becomes lesser and lesser, and provides lasting pain relief.
For various pain problems like trigeminal neuralgia; an initial evaluation for six to eight weeks and should be followed up with a follow-up treatment.
Treatment Methods- Acupuncture
Firstly, the group of patients who were on carbamazepine medications consumed 100 mg carbamazepine tablets at least 2 times per day.
The rate of consumption is first increased to 4 times per day and then the dosage is decreased or increased according to the patient’s condition.
The maximum dosage is first set to a limit of 1 g per day. If pain levels reduce significantly as per a specific dosage range within 2 days, then the dosage of carbamazepine consumption is regulated at 500 – 800 mg per day.
The following acupuncture points are activated to receive the application of fusiform acupuncture needles at various acupoints,
- Tai Yang (Supreme Yang)
- LI7 (Wenliu, Warm Flow)
- LI4 (Hegu, Joining Valley)
- ST7 (Xiaguan, Lower Controller)
- DU20 (Baihui, Hundred Meetings)
- Yin Tang (Hall of Impression)
- GB20 (Fengchi, Wind Pool)
- ST6 (Jiache, Jaw Bone)
Acupuncture is effectively utilized for the cure of trigeminal neuralgia using this powerful treatment procedure.
Why acupunctureis more effective than carbamazepine is because there are no side-effects of life-threatening allergic reactions to acupuncture.
Sometimes, the use of carbamazepine can triggeroff Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis, it especially happens with Asian patients who particularly suffer fromthe genetic risk factor.
That is why acupuncture is foundto be clinically more effective than carbamazepine. Another notable point is when acupuncture is used to treat TN, the researchers suggest that combining different medications with acupuncture may produce even more positive results than using either of the therapies separately.
A Few Nutritional Tips to Treat Trigeminal Neuralgia
The nutritional therapy for trigeminal neuralgia helps soothe and strengthen the nervous system, so you need to avoid certain foods and drinks that trigger it.
- Vitamin B Complex- Take about 50 mg three times a day, this ensures the proper functioning of the nervous system.
- Take magnesium 250-500 mg once a day, this is absolutely essential to ensure proper nerve functioning. It also helps the nerves.
- Some of the following herbal restoratives are as follows, Damiana (Turneradiffuse), Scullcap (Scutellarialateriflora) and Oats (Avena sativa). These herbs can provide substantial relief.
- Avoid foods which are high in sugar, salt, saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, and caffeine.
- Stop smoking
- Consume analgesic fruits or pepper for efficient pain relief.
- Consumption of Evening Primrose oil (1,000 mg twice a day) is beneficial as it is an excellent source of essential fatty acids. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory.
- Apple cider vinegar is another great remedy, massage the area lightly with the help of apple cider vinegar.
The sudden pain spasms can be terrible; that is why you need to treat the condition with a holistic approach. Be mindful of including some positive changes into your daily life, acupuncture being one of them, and feel the difference. Take care!
Hi…very interesting and informative insight ! Thank you. I have TN since last 3 yrs odd…right side of face , mostly the eye area.
Wonder if you can suggest a clinic in Mumbai …would appreciate. Tks …Manjit