Chiropractic Approach to Treat Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia is a debilitating chronic pain condition that is often referred to as the “suicide disease.” Patients with trigeminal neuralgia often suffer for years without finding any sort of relief. So, I did some research to find out if chiropractors can help with trigeminal neuralgia.
So, can chiropractors help with trigeminal neuralgia? Many case studies suggest that chiropractic care can help relieve the pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia. Through physical manipulations and other care, chiropractors can help to find relief that cannot always be found with pain medications and surgeries.
If someone has suffered from trigeminal neuralgia for any time at all, they have likely exhausted every means of relief they can find. Oftentimes, these forms of relief either do not help the pain at all or only work temporarily. This journey leaves patients feeling helpless, hopeless, and trapped in a poor-quality life.
For this reason, many patients end up giving chiropractic work a try in an attempt to find relief. In many cases, these patients find that chiropractic care effectively lessens the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia, allowing them to get on with a better life. In this post, we will talk about how a South Tulsa Chiropractor can provide incredible relief for patients suffering from trigeminal neuralgia.
How Chiropractors Address Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that leads to chronic pain in the face. The trigeminal nerve makes up the entire front of the head, but the pain is most often concentrated around the two lowest divisions of the nerve. These two portions are the maxillary and mandibular divisions. They cover the area below and behind the eyes all the way down to the chin.
Sudden sharp, stabbing pains along the nerve are the main symptom of trigeminal neuralgia. These sudden, sharp pains occur five to ten times per day in most patients and are debilitating. The typical cause of this pain is contact, or pressure, between the trigeminal nerve below the brain and a blood vessel. There are several reasons that this contact or pressure occurs, but the most common are aging multiple sclerosis or compression caused by a tumor or other lesion.
Because trigeminal neuralgia is a result of pressure on the trigeminal nerve, helping relieve that pressure is right in a chiropractor’s wheelhouse. In addition to that, multiple case studies have shown patients experiencing relief from trigeminal neuralgia pain after opting for chiropractic treatment, often as a last-ditch effort to find pain relief.
The main way that chiropractic care can help with trigeminal neuralgia is by adjusting the vertebrae to relieve the pressure around the spinal cord. Specific adjustment of subluxated vertebrae can attack the root issue of the pressure that causes facial neuralgia.
In other case studies, chiropractors have found that trigeminal neuralgia results from damage to the cervical region of the spine. Cervical trauma can lead to damage of nerve pathways that result in intense facial pain in the form of trigeminal neuralgia. With this knowledge, chiropractors can make focused adjustments to the cervical region that can help to relieve the intense facial pain.
Chiropractic Care and Trigeminal Neuralgia
In many case studies, individuals that experienced relief of trigeminal neuralgia pain through chiropractic care cited the care as a last resort. With more and more cases suggesting successful chiropractic treatment for trigeminal neuralgia, more and more patients are turning chiropractors for help and relief from the debilitating pain.
What Is the Trigeminal Nerve?
The trigeminal nerve is a large nerve that stems from the base of the brain and extends to the total area of the face, from the top of the head to below the chin. The nerve itself is made up of three branches: the ophthalmic branch, the maxillary branch, and the mandibular branch.
These branches are essentially just zones of the face. Put simply, the ophthalmic branch is the top of the face, the maxillary is the middle, and the mandibular is the bottom.
The three zones of the trigeminal nerve are responsible for the sensations associated with an individual’s facial functions. From chewing to talking to nose blowing and much more, the trigeminal nerve is what stimulates these sensations.
The ophthalmic and maxillary branches are purely sensory nerves, whereas the mandibular is additionally responsible for motor function. Stretching from the tip of the chin to above the ear, this nerve is responsible for the motor functions of the face.
Primary Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia is a result of disruption and dysfunction of the trigeminal nerve. This dysfunction can be caused by a few different things. Aging is a common cause of trigeminal neuralgia, though the condition is rare even among the older population. Typically, this is a result of an anatomical predisposition that leads to contact between blood vessels such as veins or arteries on the trigeminal nerve.
In other cases, trigeminal neuralgia can come on as a result of multiple sclerosis, a disease in which the body’s immune system deteriorates the protective covering surrounding nerves. Understandably, this deterioration would leave nerves unprotected and susceptible to interference with other components within the body. This interference can lead to the intense pain that comes along with trigeminal neuralgia. Multiple sclerosis is often the main reason younger individuals suffering from trigeminal neuralgia.
Another common cause of trigeminal neuralgia is the existence of tumors or other lesions within the head. When these masses form, they can apply unnecessary pressure on the trigeminal nerve, which results in facial neuralgia.
Difference Between Neuralgia and Neuropathy
Neuralgia and neuropathy differ in the cause of the two conditions. Neuropathy is a result of a problem with the nerve signals that leads to pain and numbness in areas of the body. This condition can come as a result of a multitude of preexisting conditions. Neuralgia is a more focused issue that is a result of damage or disruption of a nerve.
For this reason, neuralgia can lead to intense sharp pain as a result of certain movements and sensations. Neuropathy often causes unpredictable sensations throughout the body, sometimes in specific locations that vary from individual to individual.
How to Know if You Have Trigeminal Neuralgia
With any medical condition, you should never assume its existence without a doctor’s diagnosis. However, there are telltale signs that will lead one to believe they have trigeminal neuralgia. If these symptoms are similar to what an individual is experiencing, they should contact a doctor regarding their concerns.
Trigeminal neuralgia most often shows itself in the form of intense facial pain. This sudden pain is often described as sharp and stabbing. It can happen on average five to ten times a day. However, some patients have reported going for long periods of time with no pain at all.
The pain can affect different individuals in varying ways and at different locations along the facial region. For example, patients have reported pain in the neck area, cheek area, chin, or even as specific as the right jaw.
Sometimes the pain comes about randomly, while there are some reports of triggered responses. These triggers include but are not limited to the following:
- Brushing Your Teeth
- The Sensation of Wind On the Face
- Applying Makeup
- Washing Your Face
- Touching Your Face
What is the difference between trigeminal neuralgia and TMJ? The most obvious difference between trigeminal neuralgia and TMJ is the type of pain that is associated with the two problems. Trigeminal neuralgia pain is sudden, sharp, and stabbing, whereas the pain associated with the temporomandibular joint disorder is dull.
This difference comes as a result of the sheer differences in the causes of the pain. With trigeminal neuralgia, the pain is caused by a dysfunction of the trigeminal nerve. The pain associated with TMJ is a result of an imbalance of the jaw and mouth anatomy.
Is trigeminal neuralgia hereditary? There is some evidence that suggests that trigeminal neuralgia could be hereditary, most likely as a result of similar formations of blood vessels. The inherited similar formations of blood vessels could theoretically predispose an individual to develop pressure on the trigeminal nerve at some point in their life.
Is trigeminal neuralgia life-threatening? The pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia can be unbearable at times. However, the condition itself is not life-threatening and there are multiple routes available for treatment. Trigeminal neuralgia has earned the moniker of “the suicide disease”. This is because the resulting pain understandably and drastically reduces a patient’s quality of life. Many patients exhaust a list of treatment options without finding any relief.