Guest post written by Terry Fox, Licensed Acupuncturist at Zi Zai Dermatology.
Trigeminal nerve pathway
Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from your face to your brain. If you suffer from Trigeminal Neuralgia, you know exactly how painful it can feel. But, for those who’ve never experienced it, this is what others have to cope with:
Trigeminal neuralgia symptoms may include one or more of these patterns: (according to the Mayo Clinic)
Episodes of severe, shooting or jabbing pain that may feel like an electric shock
Spontaneous attacks of pain
Attacks triggered by simple daily activities such as touching the face, chewing, speaking or brushing teeth
Bouts of pain lasting from a few seconds to several minutes
Episodes of several attacks lasting days, weeks, months or longer — some people have periods when they experience no pain
Constant aching, burning feeling that may occur before it evolves into the spasm-like pain
Pain in areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve, including the cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, lips, or less often the eye and forehead
Pain affecting one side of the face at a time, though may rarely affect both sides of the face
Pain focused in one spot or spread in a wider pattern
Attacks that become more frequent and intense over time
When you’re in that kind of excruciating pain, it’s no wonder that trigeminal neuralgia has been called “The Suicide Disease.” Modern biomedical interventions for trigeminal neuralgia involve the use of anticonvulsant and antispasmodic drugs, and/or surgery that damages the nerve so that it no longer functions. The drugs often have side effects like dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, and nausea. And of course, surgery can stop the pain, but in trade, your face becomes permanently numb. Frankly, many people who suffer with trigeminal neuralgia are so desperate to get out of pain, they’re completely willing to deal with the pharmaceutical and surgical risks. Luckily, acupuncture has been shown to provide relief.As you can see from the illustration here, one of the major acupuncture channels on the body, Leg Yang Ming Stomach Channel, runs in a similar fashion to the Trigeminal Nerve.
Facial acupuncture can significantly reduce trigeminal neuralgia pain and is a safer treatment option. The risks and side effects of Facial Acupuncture are minimal compared to drugs or surgery – typically only minor bruising at the site of needle insertion. But even that can be minimized when you have well-trained licensed acupuncturist performing the treatment.
Below are links to studies showing the effectiveness of Acupuncture in reducing Trigeminal Neuralgia pain:
Do you suffer with trigeminal neuralgia pain, or know someone who does? Before resorting to drugs and/or permanent destruction of your trigeminal nerve, consider facial acupuncture. It can free you from the debilitating pain without the dangerous side effects of drugs and or unnecessary permanent facial numbness.
Terry Fox is a licensed acupuncturist and specializes in acupuncture of the face. Click the button below to schedule your appointment with Terry today.