The problem of Trigeminal Neuralgia and other chronic pains

chronic pain

Popular web resources on the facial pain Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) only have drugs, injections, and surgeries as possible treatments. But they’re missing a potential important ingredient to resolving TN symptoms: upper cervical chiropractic care.

Trigeminal Neuralgia, Suicide Disease?

Trigeminal Neuralgia is the #1 cause of facial pain, with 4 to 5 persons per 100,000 having the disease. Some authorities say that more might be suffering, but aren’t counted because of misdiagnosis.

According to the National Pain Foundation, 1.7 millions have been diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia. TN’s reputation as one of the most severe body pains makes that 1.7 million too many. In many cases TN grows to be a debilitating and chronic pain that threatens the livelihood of the one who suffers with it.

Listen to the story of one man who had TN below:

In the past TN has been called Tic douloureux, and also the suicide disease, because the suffering it causes some patients drove them to take their life. Modern medicine has improved pain management through drugs and surgical procedures, and takes credit for reducing TN’s deadly reputation.

Yet, medicines don’t always work, and the idea of a cranial surgery can be too expensive, or downright scary for many. Some choose to seek help from alternative treatments. Indeed, popular web sources like list some of those therapies, like acupuncture, biofeedback, and vitamin therapy.

Still, there is one glaring omission of what might help TN. Upper cervical chiropractic care.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic and TN

There are several theories on what causes, or possibly exacerbates the symptoms of facial nerve pain. The most popular is a mechanical explanation: there is pressure on the facial nerve, inside the skull, most likely cause by a blood vessel. Pain then occurs with little or no warning, often just with moving the head, eating, or touching the face.

It’s thought that the pressure actually occurs at the base of the brain stem, where the roots of the facial nerve are.

What’s interesting about the facial nerve is that it’s not just found at the brain stem. There are actually cell extensions of the facial nerve which descend down into the spinal cord to the level of our second cervical vertebra. So, reach back to just about the back of your hair line, at the back of your neck. You have cells hooked up to the trigeminal nerve which are nestled less than a few inches  away from your finger.

If there was a doctor who could do a surgery and take away small amounts of pressure at the top of the spinal cord, in between the second vertebra and the bottom of the head, do you think it might relieve the pressure on the facial nerve?

Now what if that doctor wasn’t doing surgery, but was gently improving the balance between the head and neck? Balance that affects nerve pressure and blood flow into the brain stem. Would you think that might relieve pressure on the facial nerve?

And what if I told you that non-surgical doctor was a chiropractor, practicing upper cervical chiropractic?

Upper cervical chiropractic worked for one TN patient of an upper cervical doctor in St. Louis. And it did for James Tomasi, who you can read about here, or listen to his story in the recording above. I have personally  seen improvement in facial pain in 3 different patients in the last 45 days.

So, why haven’t you heard about this before? Good question. Here’s one answer: when you search the current National Institute of Heath’s clinical trials, there are only 3 TN studies. And not one of them is examining Trigeminal Neuralgia and chiropractic care. There is very little funding for chiropractic research period, let alone research into a non-back-pain related condition.

Here’s a second answer:  Mayo and other authorities are  comfortable reporting on the potential of acupuncture, vitamins, and biofeedback, because it’s not chiropractic. You simply haven’t heard about Trigeminal Neuralgia and chiropractic care because of bias.

And it’s not just limited to facial pain, but other chronic pains as well. Thankfully patient advocacy groups like the Facial Pain Association are willing to tell others about facial pain and upper cervical chiropractic.

Written by Dr. Ward

Father. Foodie. And dedicated upper cervical chiropractor. Find me practicing gentle upper cervical care in Oakland County, Michigan. Have a question or comment? I'm at your service. Reach me at my Auburn Hills chiropractic practice: (248) 598-4002. Or on Google +, Facebook, or Twitter.

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