Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a chronic pain condition that causes extreme, sporadic, sudden burning, or shock-like facial pain. The term “trigeminal” refers to the trigeminal nerve, which supplies sensation to the face and mucous membranes of the mouth and nose.
TN most commonly involves the second division of this nerve, known as the maxillary division. TN can occur at any age but most often occurs in people over 50. It can be frustrating, especially since its symptoms usually show up when people ought to enjoy their well-deserved golden years. As luck would have it, patients now have more trigeminal neuralgia pain relief options available. But, to know which would suit you best, you must learn about the four possible causes of TN.
Before we deep dive into your potential sources of trigeminal neuralgia pain relief, let us look into the symptoms of this condition. Patients note that they experience varying symptoms that come and go depending on the activities that they engage with. Notably, most of them share similar TN symptoms, including:
- Facial pain
- Muscle spasms in your face and jaw
- Sleeping problems
- Anxiety and depression due to the pain
While the cause remains largely unknown, there are many suspected causes ranging from multiple sclerosis to skull trauma. Take note that trigeminal neuralgia can also serve as a symptom of a more severe condition. Medical conditions and complications that can cause trigeminal neuralgia include:
#1. Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a degenerative autoimmune disease that affects a person’s central nervous system. It affects several organs like the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord, causing problems with muscle control, vision, balance, speech, and other functions. MS can be unpredictable in its course. The disease may come and go for long periods or escalate in severity over days or weeks before stabilizing again.
#2. Skull or facial trauma
You may have suffered facial trauma due to a car accident, a fall, or even a sports injury. Facial trauma can damage multiple areas of the brain. For example, if you hit your face on something hard enough to break your nose, you may have injured the brainstem – the nervous system tissue located at the base of your skull.
Notably, the brainstem controls many vital functions such as heartbeat and breathing. So, if it gets irritated or damaged, you will likely experience many problems, including chronic pain and heightened sensory receptor sensitivity.
The trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve V) is also connected to this area and can get damaged by facial trauma. Unfortunately, it can cause pain in one side of your face or jaw that lasts for weeks or months at a time.
#3. Dental surgery complication
Dental surgery issues can sometimes lead to trigeminal nerve compression. Sadly, a 2015 study found this complication is quite common, especially among patients undergoing maxillofacial surgery. It would help to consult with your dental surgeon or doctor about the risks so you can find alternative remedies.
#4. Spinal misalignment
Nerve compression can occur when the trigeminal nerve gets trapped between two bony structures. This happens most commonly when the nerve passes through the skull base, which tends to get pressed on by facial bones, muscles, and blood vessels.
The trigeminal nerve also runs very close to other vital structures, including major arteries, veins, and cranial nerves. In some cases, these structures may get caught in a position that increases their pressure on the trigeminal nerve or prevents it from moving freely.
Trigeminal neuralgia occurs when one of these structures becomes inflamed or irritated for any reason. This can readily happen if you have an injury or trauma to your face resulting in damage to one of these tissues.
In many instances, there are also underlying health conditions such as diabetes or atherosclerosis, which compresses the nerves and blood vessels. A tumor growing near your brainstem could also be putting pressure on nearby areas and causing crippling pain.
If you’ve been experiencing facial pain and numbness for more than three months, consider visiting a neurologist. It may be trigeminal neuralgia, but it could also be something serious underneath.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Pain Relief Options
There are several trigeminal neuralgia pain relief options that you can use in conjunction with conventional therapies. Some people may try acupuncture, massage therapy, or hypnosis to help reduce the intensity of their symptoms. These new options are good if done alongside other natural remedies like taking supplements, making lifestyle adjustments, and committing to healthy dietary changes.
While these options aren’t the initial suggestions provided by medical practitioners, these are still worth considering if you want to try non-invasive methods to lessen your pain.
Upper cervical chiropractic care is a newer trigeminal neuralgia pain relief option that has shown promise. This remedy focuses on realigning the top two vertebrae in your neck, which can result in improved blood flow and reduced pressure on nerves as they exit through bony structures known as exits foramina. An experienced upper cervical chiropractic doctor will work with you to identify any misalignments in your neck before applying gentle pressure to correct your posture manually.
Try Upper Cervical Chiropractic for Trigeminal Neuralgia
We hope you learned plenty of vital information our discussion on the four possible causes of trigeminal neuralgia. Now, suppose you would like to understand how you can achieve trigeminal neuralgia pain relief with the help of neck bone adjustments. In that case, we suggest visiting the UCA Doctors Directory.
This way you can get in touch with a local upper cervical chiropractic physician and begin planning your approach to eliminating the pressure buildup on your trigeminal nerve. Embrace natural and holistic healing with the help of Upper Cervical Awareness today!