Trigeminal Neuralgia and Upper Cervical Chiropractic

Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that causes painful sensations similar to an electric shock on one side of the face. This chronic pain affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from your face to your brain.

If you have trigeminal neuralgia, even mild stimulation of your face — such as from brushing your teeth or putting on makeup — may trigger a jolt of excruciating pain.

The most typical form of trigeminal neuralgia is type 1, or TN1, which causes sudden and severe facial pain attacks. The pain can last between seconds and minutes. Attacks can occur in cycles lasting as long as 2 hours.

Type 2, or TN2, is the atypical form of the disorder and is characterized by a constant pain that people have described as aching, stabbing, and burning at a lower intensity than TN1. A person may experience both types of pain, sometimes at the same time, which can be incapacitating.

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Symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia

Someone with trigeminal neuralgia may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • sudden attacks of severe, shooting pain in the face that last between seconds to around 2 minutes
  • pain affecting one side of the face
  • excruciating pain in the lower or upper jaw, teeth, or cheek, or — more uncommonly — in the forehead or eye
  • a sense that an attack of pain is about to happen, although they typically start suddenly
  • a slight ache or burning sensation after the most severe pain has subsided
  • Regular episodes of facial pain for days, weeks, or months at a time, which may disappear and not return for months or years

Trigeminal neuralgia can sometimes be progressive, with fewer pain-free days as time goes on.

What causes trigeminal neuralgia?

In trigeminal neuralgia, also called tic douloureux, the trigeminal nerve’s function is disrupted. Usually, the problem is contact between a typical blood vessel — in this case, an artery or a vein — and the trigeminal nerve at the base of your brain. This contact puts pressure on the nerve and causes it to malfunction.

While compression by a blood vessel is one of the more common causes of trigeminal neuralgia, many other potential causes exist. Some may be related to multiple sclerosis or a similar disorder that damages the myelin sheath protecting specific nerves. Trigeminal neuralgia can also be caused by a tumor compressing the trigeminal nerve.

Some people may experience trigeminal neuralgia due to a brain lesion or other abnormalities. In other cases, surgical injuries, stroke, or facial trauma may be responsible for trigeminal neuralgia.

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How can upper cervical chiropractic help with trigeminal neuralgia?

Upper cervical chiropractic can help with trigeminal neuralgia by taking imaging scans of the upper spine and neck area to determine if a vertebra is misaligned. If it is, they can gently realign it so it does not trigger pain. After this process, additional imaging is taken to determine whether the vertebrae are aligned.

An upper cervical chiropractor will gently release the skull’s upper cervical spine, jaw, and bones to reduce pressure on the Trigeminal Nerve. Research finds that compressed nerves, caused by an abnormal blood vessel, may cause TN pain.

An upper cervical chiropractic clinic offering options for trigeminal neuralgia will correct misalignments of the spine, helping restore proper communication between the spinal cord, nerves, and brain by removing compression from the brain stem and the nerves surrounding it. Many patients find this eases pain.

Dr. Brett Berner analyzes the upper cervical xrays of a patient.

Is there a home remedy for trigeminal neuralgia?

The main home remedy people can use for trigeminal neuralgia is avoiding pain triggers. If someone can identify actions or events that cause an attack, they can adapt to prevent them. Some examples include:

  • wearing a scarf over the face to protect against wind
  • containing drafts of cold air in the home
  • sitting away from air conditioning units or fans
  • avoiding spicy, hot, or cold foods
  • using a straw for drinking cold drinks
  • eating mushy or liquid foods that do not require much chewing

There is no evidence that home remedies can cure trigeminal neuralgia, but some people find complementary therapies helpful for managing the pain and its impact on their lives. People may want to consider the following:

  • acupuncture
  • yoga
  • meditation
  • aromatherapy
  • biofeedback
  • mental health support


Trigeminal neuralgia is a nerve disorder that affects the face. It causes sudden and severe pain in areas of the face, usually only on one side.

Trigeminal neuralgia can be managed naturally with upper cervical chiropractic care. Call or text our office at 813–578–5889 to schedule a complimentary consultation or book online here.

Dr. Brett Berner consulting with a new patient.

Disclaimer: Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Correction to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.

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