Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is an intensely painful condition affecting the trigeminal nerve that carries sensation from the face to the brain. Everyday actions like chewing, talking, brushing teeth can often bring on episodes of severe stabbing, shooting pains across the face that feels like an electric shock. Trigeminal neuralgia is one of the most painful conditions known to exist and is the most common neurological cause of facial pain.

How can Trigeminal Neuralgia be treated?

Trigeminal neuralgia has been linked with increased pressure on the trigeminal nerve and which causes nerve pain.  Doctors can prescribe you medication such as carbamazepine to relieve pain and which can work very effectively by reducing or blocking the electrical signals in the nerves.  However, medications can become less effective with time and the intensity of the pain can gradually become increasingly severe.

Treatments such as acupuncture can help reduce the severity of pain as well as frequency of episodes.  A Turkish case study was published in 2009 by a medical team which reported on a treatment-resistant trigeminal neuralgia patient suffering from severe pain for the last 25 years.  After receiving 6 weeks of acupuncture, the patient reported being completely pain-free - an effect that continued when she was followed up at 6 months.  

The pain-relieving aspects of acupuncture is well documented now, especially in light of recommendations by NICE that acupuncture be offered for painful conditions such as chronic headaches, migraines and lower back pain.  As in other pain conditions, acupuncture may help trigeminal neuralgia by increasing levels of opioids, endorphins, encephalins and serotonin, all of which play a important role in relieving pain.

What can I expect from treatments?

If you are suffering severe and frequent attacks, we recommend weekly treatments in the initial stage to settle symptoms down.  When the treatment focuses on taking a preventative course of action, we advise that sessions are spaced further apart.   

For further information about acupuncture, do get in touch - we'd be more than happy to answer any questions that you have about acupuncture or any of the treatments that we offer.

 

Posted by Lily Lai.