What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as tic douloureux, is a chronic pain condition that affects the 5th cranial nerve. This nerve is responsible for the feeling and sensations of the face. It most commonly affects women over 50, but it can occur at any age, and in men as well.
There are two types of trigeminal neuralgia, the “typical” or classic form, TN1and the “atypical” TN2.
TN1 causes sudden, extreme, electric-type pain lasting from a few seconds up to 2 minutes, and it is often mistaken as a migraine headache or toothache. TN2 is characterized by a consistent aching or stabbing pain. Both types of pain may be experienced by the same person in succession, or even at the same time. The pain has been described as incapacitating by sufferers of trigeminal neuralgia.
Why Do I Have Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia commonly occurs as a result of aging, but it can also be related to multiple sclerosis, or by blood vessels pressing against the root of the trigeminal nerve.
The pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia is usually due to contact between a healthy vein or artery and the trigeminal nerve. This places pressure on the nerve, causing it to misfire, resulting in crippling pain.
Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Blood vessels pressing on the root of the trigeminal nerve.
- Multiple sclerosis attacks the myelin sheath or the protective covering of a nerve.
- Inflammation caused by sarcoidosis and Lyme disease.
- A tumor pressing against the trigeminal nerve.
Activities That May Stimulate Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia is often triggered by common activities of daily living such as:
- Washing your face
- Brushing your teeth
Common Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Symptoms can range from mild to severe facial pain and are often sparked by brushing your teeth, chewing, or speaking.
- Spontaneous onset of severe shooting or stabbing pain in the jaw, teeth lips, or gums.
- Constant aching or bring that evolves into debilitating, spasm-like pain.
- The pain experienced on one side of the face at a time.
- Episodes of unflinching pain lasting from a few seconds to 2 minutes.
- Numbness or tingling in the face before pain develops.
- Sudden pain triggered by stimuli that are generally not painful, such as eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth.
Treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia
Here at ProMotion Health Care in Barrie, acupuncture is the treatment of choice for relief from the severe, chronic pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia. In orthopedic physiology, acupuncture for trigeminal neuralgia is performed on points along pathways of the face connected to nerves and muscles.
Fine, sterile needles are inserted into pressure points to stimulate blood flow and repair nerve damage. The improved circulation also releases endorphins, your body’s natural painkiller, and over time this acupuncture can change your body’s response to pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure, however, acupuncture is a great non-invasive option for holistic, drug-free. pain relief.
The pain is generally concentrated on the jaw and lower half of the face.
Trigeminal neuralgia is diagnosed almost exclusively based on the client’s description of their symptoms.
Just give us a call! We’d be more than happy to answer all of your questions.
Tired of living with discomfort related to trigeminal neuralgia? Contact our clinic in Barrie to schedule an appointment today. We look forward to serving you!