What can be mistaken for Trigeminal Neuralgia?

What can be mistaken for trigeminal neuralgia ?

What can be mistaken for Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Do you experience pain down the side of your face that makes you wonder if you have dental problems, nervous system issues, infection, or another condition? You’re not alone! Thousands struggle to determine if they should go to a dentist or seek some other care to relieve facial pain symptoms.

We believe the confusion primarily stems from the striking similarities between various dental problems and facial pain issues including trigeminal neuralgia. This leads many people to ask the question what can be mistaken for trigeminal neuralgia?

If you are looking for answers to your facial pain or other symptoms, we suggest looking into our list of 6 conditions that people usually mistake for trigeminal neuralgia. 

What can be mistaken for Trigeminal Neuralgia?

1. Toothaches and Other Dental Pains

A significant number of patients with trigeminal neuralgia get false diagnosis or seek the wrong remedies because they think they have a dental problem. To tell the difference between the two, we suggest checking the characteristics of your pain. 

Notably, dental pain usually goes away immediately especially after eating cold food. In contrast, trigeminal neuralgia symptoms don't fade away quickly. It can also cause unbearable jaw and facial pain when you cold treats like an ice popsicle or ice cream.

2. Headaches and Migraines

Migraine and headaches do not prevent you from smiling or eating with ease. However, they can cause crippling and disorienting pain that could lead you to believe that you have nerve disorders like trigeminal neuralgia.

So, if you ever feel confused, just take note that trigeminal pain only affects the facial muscles and joints. Additionally, TN symptoms only appear when you touch or move your face or jaw area. 

3. Sinusitis and Related Infections

When we get sick, the sinuses can get inflamed or irritated by the disease causing pathogen that infected you. Unfortunately, this can cause facial pain and headaches that last no more than a day. You can also manage the symptoms by taking medications for anti-inflammatory symptoms.

Interestingly, some types of sinusitis infection can trigger trigeminal neuralgia. This causes confusion especially when people assume that they only have irritated sinuses. 

If you experience TN symptoms but also suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, it may help to seek a combination of remedies. Alternatively, you can visit an upper cervical practice and find out if your  symptom of trigeminal neuralgia has a connection with cervical subluxation. 

4. Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJD)

The temporomandibular joint or TMJ is a vital joint that enables movements in the jaw and when this is the cause of pain one cannot eat, speak or yawn. Trigeminal Neuralgia and TMJ are often confused since the pain roots from the jaw affecting the face and neck area. Here are key points of comparison you can use:

The pain you experience

An electrifying sensation usually indicates trigeminal neuralgia while TMJ causes a burning sensation or dull aching. 

Presence of jaw pain

TN rarely affects the TMJ, unless you also have the disorder. You should also look out for jaw-locking, a symptom that exclusively affects those with TMJD.  

The triggers

TN symptoms usually appear when you overexert your facial muscles. TMJD on the one hand gets triggered by excessive jaw movements (such as when speaking or chewing).

What you be mistaken for trigeminal neuralgia

5. Myofascial Pain Dysfunction Syndrome (MDPS)

MPDS refers to muscle pain in the face. The muscles in our face area play a critical role in facilitating facial movements. Needless to say, overworked or fatigued facial muscles cause pain that mainly affects the lower part of the face. 

6. Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia (GPN)

The symptoms of this condition include severe pains near the tonsils that fade after a few minutes. According to studies, it’s a rare condition that stems from an irritated glossopharyngeal nerve – a group of nerve tissues located above the jaw and at the back of the ears. Unlike TN, GPN causes mild to extreme pain in areas supplied by the ninth cranial nerve, which includes the nose, pharynx, throat, tonsils, and ears.

The relationship between the upper neck and glossopharyngeal neuralgia is being explored in both clinical practice and research. Several sources suggest that upper cervical chiropractic care may help alleviate glossopharyngeal neuralgia by addressing misalignments in the upper cervical spine that can put pressure on the glossopharyngeal nerve, leading to irritation and pain.

The upper cervical spine, particularly the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae, is highlighted as a key area of focus for gentle and precise adjustments aimed at restoring optimal nervous system function and relieving the symptoms of glossopharyngeal neuralgia.

These findings indicate that there is a growing interest in the potential of upper cervical chiropractic care for addressing neuralgias, including glossopharyngeal neuralgia. However, further research, including controlled clinical studies and case series, is needed to establish the efficacy of this approach and its specific impact on glossopharyngeal neuralgia.

What Makes Trigeminal Neuralgia Unique?

Since you're asking the question what can be mistaken for trigeminal neuralgia? It's very likely that you been diagnosed with this condition.

If you are diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia this means that your trigeminal nerve is irritated. This nerve functions for all the sensations we feel on our faces and just like any nerve in our body when it gets irritated or damaged the nerve has difficulty in sending messages to the brain.

This dysfunction of the trigeminal nerve causes this pain we feel around the face and sometimes can get excruciatingly painful even with the slightest touch of the skin.

Trigeminal neuralgia can be debilitating to many as the pain can be unbearable. One cannot simply do an every day routine that involves the face like swallowing, eating, coughing or even smiling! Even tiny movement of the face can trigger severe pain similar to the sensation caused by an electric shock. 

Any movement that requires muscle in the face no matter how little it is may activate a trigeminal neuralgia pain attack. Most people suffering from this refrain from showing facial expression and even smiling because of the pain one is inflicted from.

Your Key To Relieving Facial Pain Symptoms

If you already confirmed that you do have TN, your next step is to tap into chiropractic care to relieve a  symptom of trigeminal neuralgia. After all, studies have proven that neck misalignment is among the possible causes of trigeminal neuralgia. 

With upper cervical chiropractic adjustments, you can eliminate the irregularity in the neck and help your trigeminal nerve to heal and function correctly again. In time, you can retrain your spine to hold a neutral curvature and ensure that you eliminate all the sources of signal interferences within your central nervous system.

Many of the other conditions mentioned in this blog post have also responded favorably to upper cervical chiropractic care. Including glossopharyngeal neuralgia, sinus issues, headaches, migraines, TMJ dysfunction and of course trigeminal neuralgia.

Basically if you visit a dentist and have determined that your facial pain is not related to your teeth then your next step should be visiting an upper cervical specialist.

vertigo and upper cervical

Facial Pain and Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research

There are a variety of relevant research articles, case studies and more that discuss facial pain in upper cervical chiropractic. Depending on the condition that you are suffering with you may want to investigate one or more of the links below.

Here are the findings:

  1. Neck Pain and Disability Outcomes Following Chiropractic Upper Cervical Care: A Retrospective Case Series
    • This study investigates the use of an upper cervical low-force chiropractic procedure in the management of neck pain and disability. It demonstrates statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in neck pain and disability outcomes following chiropractic upper cervical care.
  2. A Young Patient with Temporomandibular Joint Osteoarthritis: Case Report
    • This case report describes a young patient with temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis and the management approach, including physical therapy, stabilization splint, and artrocentesis.
  3. Chronic Sinusitis Case Study
    • A case study of a patient with chronic sinusitis who underwent in-office procedures for the treatment of sinus problems, resulting in resolution of headache and facial pain.
  4. Trigeminal Neuralgia Induced Headache: A Case Report and Literature Review
    • This case report and literature review discuss the association between migraine and trigeminal neuralgia, presenting a rare case of trigeminal neuralgia with a severe headache.
  5. Case Studies - Melbourne TMJ Centre
    • This resource presents case studies related to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, including a patient with TMJ osteoarthritis and another with jaw joint and muscle pain.
  6. Case Reports
    • A collection of case reports, including one that utilized the Kale Upper Cervical Procedure to assess and correct the effects of an upper cervical subluxation in a patient.

These resources provide valuable insights into the relationship between upper cervical chiropractic care and conditions such as glossopharyngeal neuralgia, TMJ dysfunction, sinus problems, headaches, and migraines.

They include case studies, research articles, and case series that may be beneficial for understanding the potential impact of upper cervical chiropractic care on these conditions.

If you have been asking the question what can be mistaken for trigeminal neuralgia? It's clear that you are suffering with facial pain and other symptoms and it's crucial that you investigate the underlying cause of the symptoms. Symptoms in this area of the face are frequently connected to the upper neck and should be thoroughly evaluated by an upper cervical specialist.

Are you ready to explore upper cervical chiropractic? We recommend locating the nearest upper cervical chiropractic practice and booking your initial appointment.

Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Area

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Find an Upper Cervical Specialist In Your Area

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.