For decades, people with trigeminal neuralgia used anticonvulsant medications. Today, people use various other drugs to help ease what is known as the “most excruciating pain known to man.” Some extreme cases make people choose surgery as a last resort to pain relief. Yet, today, the good news is that upper cervical chiropractic is another option that has helped many people find freedom from pain.
What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Before citing at least six natural ways to find pain relief for trigeminal neuralgia, let’s first dissect what it is. Truth is, most people still do not know much about this severe condition. Undoubtedly, the highly technical and medical term used to describe it makes it even more obscure or too complex to understand. To shed more light on this health concern, let’s define what this condition is and why it causes so much pain.
Trigeminal neuralgia is the experience of very intense pain in the face. Some experts refer to this painful condition as “tic douloureux,” a French term that means a “painful twitch.”
The twitch in the face comes with a sharp stab or shooting type of pain. Sometimes, it feels like a surprising jolt of electricity. Most pain attacks last only a few seconds, but some have had to contend with it for a few minutes. Aside from face pain, others also feel unpleasant sensations in the gums, teeth, and jaw. At times, even a light touch on the face or head can produce horrific pain.
What Causes Trigeminal Neuralgia?
When people visit an upper cervical chiropractic office, they usually ask about the causes of this uncomfortable condition. Underneath our face and inside the head, we can find the trigeminal nerve. It is the largest among the twelve cranial nerves in the head. The trigeminal nerve has several functions, which include:
- Providing motor control to muscles that work during mastication (in simplest terms, the act of chewing food)
- Enabling us to feel sensations or have feelings in the face as well as in our mucous membranes and other parts of the head
Compression or irritation of the trigeminal nerve causes severe pain. In some cases, the pain is due to a head tumor or multiple sclerosis.
Common Triggers of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Some of the most common triggers of this condition are:
- Cold breeze or air conditioning
- Chewing food
- Brushing one’s teeth
- Sudden head movements
- Activities that cause vibrations like riding on a car
Going through the list of triggers, one will surely be surprised that even the simplest, everyday activities like talking or walking can trigger a sudden onset of severe facial pain.
5 Home Remedies for Trigeminal Neuralgia
Now, let’s go to the most important information. How do we address the pain of trigeminal neuralgia without swallowing a handful of pills or tablets of painkillers? Here’s how:
1. Hot and Cold Compress
A hot or cold compress may work well on a painful face or head. The heat compress may help relax tense muscles in the face that could be pressing on the nerves inside the head. On the other hand, the cold compress can help reduce inflammation in the face and head, putting pressure on the sensitive nerves.
2. Gentle Pressure
While it may sound counter-intuitive, applying gentle pressure on the cheeks, forehead, and parts of the jaw also provides some pain relief. You can experiment where the gentle pressure is most effective in reducing your nerve pain.
As oil or liniment, peppermint is known as an ancient anti-pain and anti-inflammatory herbal remedy. Its cooling effect also helps relieve muscle tension and different kinds of head and body aches.
Ginger oil is also a potent anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory agent used as an herbal remedy to various kinds of pain, including trigeminal neuralgia.
5. Vitamin B12
Taking Vitamin B12 supplements will also help with pain relief. Research shows that persons with Vitamin B12 deficiency may be more prone to degeneration of protective sheaths that cover our nerves. When these nerves are unprotected, they become more susceptible to injury and inflammation, which causes severe pain.
All-Natural Approach to Trigeminal Neuralgia
Aside from these fantastic home and herbal remedies, people with severe trigeminal neuralgia may also try the sixth natural remedy for pain relief method: upper cervical chiropractic. It is a set of techniques used to restore the spine’s proper functional alignment, specifically the upper cervical area, to enable the brain and body to communicate.
Injury, inflammation, or misalignment in the upper cervical spine region can lead to all sorts of pain and health problems, including trigeminal neuralgia. In many cases, people suffering from trigeminal neuralgia had a car accident, sports injury, or any other traumatic incident that affected the head area. These unfortunate events often cause a mechanical displacement of specific bones near the head, the atlas bone (C1 vertebra) and the axis bone (C2 vertebra).
Before applying upper cervical chiropractic techniques, a thorough examination is done. The test may involve a review of a person’s medical or health history. Imaging procedures like x-ray examination or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) will also be done. In some cases, neurological testing is necessary to thoroughly assess a person’s nervous system’s condition.
The next step is the actual application of upper cervical spine adjustments. These precise and gentle manual adjustments significantly help restore proper alignment of the displaced bones. These displaced bones can irritate or compress the nerves, which cause pain.
Painful facial twitches and other miserable health problems are not hopeless. With the right information and the correct pain relief methods, life can feel better even for those with trigeminal neuralgia.
Visit our directory for a list of upper cervical chiropractic offices near you.