Hello I’m Dr. Paul Bekkum and our "Condition of the Week" this week is Trigeminal Neuralgia.
What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a stabbing or burning pain due to an irritated or damaged trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is a cranial nerve down the side of your face. As shown in the illustration (Figure A) the cranial nerve has three different branches:
The Opthalmic Branch crosses through the forehead, front scalp and into the eye;
The Maxillary Branch crosses through the mid portion of the face affecting the upper lip, nose and teeth; and
The Mandibular Branch also affects the teeth along with the lower lip, jaw and side of the head.
Unfortunately, this condition is quite painful. Typically, someone suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia will have shooting and jabbing pain through the face in any of the three branches of the trigeminal nerve. The pain can at times be excruciating. It may feel like you have dental problems. Many people seek the care of a dentist as a first step. This is a good idea to rule out any dental issues first however, many people have undergone unnecessary dental treatment when it’s actually Trigeminal Neuralgia. When ruling out any dental abnormalities, make sure your dentist is basing treatment plans with objective findings.
The pain can be triggered by chewing, speaking or even brushing your teeth. Cold wind can trigger it as well. Once the neuralgia has resurfaced, a gust of wind to the face can be unbearable. Unfortunately, the pain becomes more frequent over time. It can resolve and then resurface years later.
Interested in a PDF version of Dr. Paul's slideshow presentation? Click here: Trigeminal Neuralgia
Fortunately, there are some home remedies that can reduce the pain. Orajel can provide some immediate relief. Even though the problem is not with your teeth, a numbing agent can help calm down the nerve to reduce some pain sensation.
A TENS Unit can be effective and can be purchased at your local pharmacy or online through Amazon. I attached links below with some options for TENS Units if you would like to try the home remedy first. An ideal situation would be to undergo this type of treatment under the care of a professional. We have a TENS Unit in our office at All Seasons Full Body Chiropractic Center. If you live in the Fargo Metro Area call to schedule an appointment with our office. The benefit of coming into our office is that we have you undergo a number of screenings to determine whether it is indeed Trigeminal Neuralgia prior to performing electrical nerve stimulation to the face.
It is very important that you are taking a B Vitamin Complex. Vitamin B is thought to play a role in myelin production which is one of the most common nutrients used to combat neuropathic pain. PubMed published a study revealing that B Vitamins indeed controlled some aspects of pain among sufferers of facial neuralgia. PubMed Article
We recommend the nutraMetrix line of vitamins. The nutraMetrix products are isotonic which means they have the same composition as much of our body fluids allowing the body to rapidly absorb the vitamin when ingested. Because the nutraMetrix vitamins enter the body in an isotonic state, they do not sit in the stomach and break down and dissolve before they pass into the lower intestine. This process insures you are getting the most out of your vitamin and are reaping the full benefits rapidly.
As a practitioner who experiences Trigeminal Neuralgia firsthand, I can tell you that I understand the excruciating pain and the desire to find immediate relief. Pain relievers will only help this problem short term. We have an epidemic of addiction to pain killers in this country and the last thing you want to do is treat this with a drug that can lead to addiction or long-term health problems. Do yourself a favor and don’t go down this route if at all possible. For more information on the effects of long-term use of pain relievers, go to: Pain Killers ARE Killers
It is important to try non-invasive treatment first. All Seasons Full Body Chiropractic Center offers screenings and treatments to rule out any other problems prior to identifying Trigeminal Neuralgia as the root of your symptoms. These screenings can be performed prior to making any concrete decisions on your treatment plan.
K-Laser Therapy is available in our office and has been shown to help alleviate pain and promote healing as a long-term treatment plan.
My struggle with Trigeminal Neuralgia recently has shown that K-Laser Therapy helps with long-term healing and the TENS unit (Electric Stim Unit) is the most effective for immediate pain relief. As I mentioned above, a TENS Unit can be effective should the screenings rule out any other possible conditions. The TENS Unit in our office is more effective than what can be purchased through your local pharmacy.
When my Trigeminal Neuralgia was at its worst last week, I thought I was going to have to cancel the rest of my afternoon patients. The TENS unit helped to calm down my pain and I was able to make it through the rest of the day and to a conference later that evening.
If you believe you have Trigeminal Neuralgia and you’re not experiencing relief from home remedies, come and see us. Our non-invasive therapies can help to provide pain relief. Our screening procedures can rule out other problems first and should we find you are having more serious conditions that we are not able to treat in our office, we can refer out to somebody to help through medications or surgical procedures. (701) 356-0016 drpaulbekkum.com
Listen to Dr. Paul's latest "Drugless Life" Podcast on Trigeminal Neuralgia:
Dr. Paul Bekkum leads the team of health care professionals at All Seasons Full Body Chiropractic Center. His life's mission is to help people live active and healthy lives. Dr. Bekkum believes that pain doesn't have to be a life-long sentence. By focusing on a person's whole body, Dr. Bekkum can help detect, correct, and prevent health problems. Dr. Bekkum was born and raised in River Falls, WI, and attended University of Wisconsin - River Falls, then graduated from Northwestern College of Chiropractic in 1992. In addition to being a Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Paul Bekkum is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology. Dr. Bekkum is a team chiropractor for the NDSU Rodeo team.