Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic condition that affects the trigeminal nerve. As a result, suffers experience extreme pain, which occurs suddenly. For now, there’s no cure for trigeminal neuralgia, but the condition can possibly be managed with the help of an experienced chiropractor.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a painful condition involving the trigeminal nerve. Over 12 cases are diagnosed per 100,000 Americans each year.
There are two distinct trigeminal nerves in the human body, one nerve on each side of the face. The trigeminal nerves convey pain sensation and other sensations from the face to the brain. There are three branches of each nerve — one the forehead, midface, and chin. Trigeminal neuralgia can affect one or all of the branches at the same time. Trigeminal neuralgia causes intense pain in a part of the face or all parts of the face.
The pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia can be triggered by a mild stimulation of the face, like shaving or brushing your teeth. The pain usually feels like a stab or an electric shock. At first, people with trigeminal neuralgia may have short, mild sessions of pain, but the pain becomes more frequent and intense over time. The symptoms are experienced in cycles in many cases — that is, the pain comes and goes for weeks or days and then subsides. Sometimes, the condition may seem progressive and ever-present.
It is important to note that there’s no specific test for trigeminal neuralgia. So, the diagnosis takes a little bit of time. Treatment depends on the cause of the condition, as well as the severity. There are a couple of medications that can ease the pain and also decrease the number of episodes. In some cases, surgery is required.
The pain of trigeminal neuralgia feels like electric shocks. They come in sharp spasms. The pain will often occur in only one side of the face and can be triggered by touch or sound. Routine activities can also trigger the pain of trigeminal neuralgia, these include:
· Eating or drinking
· Face touching
· Wearing makeup
· A breeze blowing across your face
Sometimes, you may experience pain that lasts only a few minutes or even seconds. Some patients may experience a series of attacks lasting for days, weeks, or months, after which there will be periods of remission.
In other cases, the condition can increase in frequency and severity. The pain may also become constant.
The cause of this condition is never found in many cases. Either way, the following are known to contribute to the occurrence of this condition:
· A tumor or swollen blood vessel puts a lot of pressure on the nerve.
· Multiple sclerosis. This condition degrades the myelin sheath. Myelin sheath is the coating that surrounds and protects nerve fibers.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke report shows that this condition has a higher prevalence among women than men. The condition is also more common in people over 50 years of age.
Trigeminal neuralgia cannot be diagnosed with a single test. Diagnosis depends on the type of pain and its locations, as well as the triggers. Your doctor will begin by evaluating your medical history, after which they will perform a physical examination. This includes a neurological examination to determine the part of the nerve being affected. To determine where the pain is located, your doctor will touch various parts of your face.
Other tests will be done to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms. Examples of such conditions are postherpetic neuralgia and cluster headaches. A head MRI may also be done to determine whether the pain is caused by multiple sclerosis or not.
An upper cervical chiropractor will first take detailed images of the neck and upper spine area to determine whether any vertebra is misaligned. If there’s a misalignment, they will realign it with specific, yet gentle care so that it does not trigger any pain. After the realignment, another imaging will be done to determine whether the vertebra has been properly corrected back to normal.
Dr. Brett Berner reviewing a patient’s Foundational Radiographs
Studies have shown that the pain of trigeminal neuralgia may be caused by nerve compression. In this case, the nerve compression may be caused by an abnormal blood vessel. At my office, Foundation Chiropractic of Lutz, FL, we offer a wide range of options for trigeminal neuralgia that will correct foundational shifts and restore proper communication between the spinal cord, brain, and nerves by easing the compression on the brainstem and the nerves that surround it.
At Foundation Chiropractic, we utilize state-of-the-art equipment to determine the presence of a Foundational Shift of the spine, which is typically the underlying cause of a variety of secondary conditions (symptoms) that you may be experiencing.
A patient having a consultation with Dr. Brett Berner.