Also known as “Tic Douloureux,’ which in French means a painful spasm,
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a disruption of nerve functions of the trigeminal
nerve that transmits sensations from the face to the brain. It is usually
caused by pressure of a vein or artery on the nerve, though on rare
occasions it may result from compression of a tumor. However in most cases
the reason for the contact of the vein or artery on the nerve is unknown.
This condition results in multiple episodes of extremely strong pain in the
eyes, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, and jaw. The pain associated with this
condition is considered by many to be the “most severe pain known to man.”
This disorder characteristically features trigger points on the face which
when touched can trigger an attack. Thus normal life activities such as
eating, talking, shaving, or putting on makeup can set off a painful
In the United States the incidence of Trigeminal Neuralgia is slightly higher in women than men. The disorder is more prevalent in the US than in European countries. However, true numbers of the incidence and prevalence of this condition are difficult to ascertain, as it is often misdiagnosed. Onset of the disease can be at any age; however it most frequently starts after the age of 50.
Conventional medical treatments for this condition include medications and if those are not effective, surgery. The drugs that are commonly used are anticonvulsants and skeletal muscle relaxants (though not approved by FDA for that purpose) whose purpose is to reduce the pain. Surgery is an option when medications are ineffective or cease to offer relief of pain. There are a number of procedures that can be done, to either alleviate the pressure of the artery or vein on the trigeminal nerve, or damage the trigeminal nerve and block the nerve pain transmittal.
Alternative therapies for Trigeminal Neuralgia include among others: Acupuncture Biofeedback, Chiropractics, Homeopathy, Hypnosis, Manual therapy, Vitamin therapy, Nutritional therapy, Electrical stimulation of nerves.
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners focus on the underlying cause of this condition, which they believe is blockage of Qi or energy along the complex meridian pathways. The poor Qi flow causes Qi stagnation and deficiency as well as blood stasis which result in pain. Though the pain is in the face, the unbalanced Qi flow may emanate from a blockage in more distal meridian pathways. Treatment will then focus on the blocked meridian pathway based on holistic evaluation of the patient including all their bodily functions.
There are very few clinical studies done in the United States on the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. Though there have been positive results, the small number of participants and lack of replications deems acupuncture an unproven therapy for Trigeminal Neuralgia. However, numerous and large scale studies have been done in China and other Eastern countries which have garnered the most positive results. The percentage of people who experienced a significant decrease in pain was impressive. The World Health Organization does cite Trigeminal Neuralgia as one of the conditions treatable with acupuncture.
Dr. Elisha expertly utilizes acupuncture as part of a comprehensive treatment program for Trigeminal Neuralgia. The holistic approach includes a diet and exercise plan as well as herbal and homeopathic remedies. Let Dr Elisha alleviate your pain, promote a better sleep pattern, and help you relax and feel generally better.
Call Dr. Elisha at the Healing Center today, and start feeling good and young again!