Everything you need to know about Trigeminal Neuralgia. the Suicide Disease, right? If you have Trigeminal Neuralgia, you know very well what I’m talking about.
What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
The Trigeminal Nerve is a cranial nerve, comes off the brainstem, down in the neck. It goes back up into the face, and then it splits off into three branches, right? The Trigeminal Nerve. One, it goes across the forehead, one across the face, and one down around the chin. Now, the Trigeminal Neuralgia itself, the pain can affect any one of the three or any combination or all three. They call it The Suicide Disease because it’s the most painful pain on demand. People say it’s like someone’s stabbing you in the face with an ice pick. I’ve heard it’s like chewing on aluminum foil. I’ve heard some horrific explanations from our patients.
What is the medical approach? Well, the medical approach is basically drugs and surgery. Those are the only two weapons that medicine has. The drugs typically prescribed are anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsants like seizure medications, like Topamax, Dilantin, Tegretol. These obviously are seizure medications, but it’s been known to knock the edge off for a little bit. I have people that typically start off with a smaller dose, and you have to keep up, and the body gets immune to it, usually just taking the edge off. For some people, the medications do not have much effect. At the same time, they make you dizzy, they make you confused, you’re not supposed to drive when you take them. The medication itself can be debilitating.
The surgical approach is to go in and do an incision and put a hole in the skull. They wrap a little Teflon thing around the Trigeminal Nerve, and the statistics on their website say it’s pretty good, but I’ve had multiple patients that have had this procedure and had no results, some even were worse after the surgery. The other thing is that you were not born with a Teflon deficiency. Okay? There’s a reason why you have Trigeminal Neuralgia. For every effect in the universe, there is a cause, and the cause of Trigeminal Neuralgia is not a drug deficiency or lack of Teflon coating around the nerve.
Where does Trigeminal Neuralgia come from?
Well, so from my experience, we’ve had patients come here from all over the United States, literally all over the world from as far away as China, to get relief for their Trigeminal Neuralgia, and what we’ve found is if one of the bones at the top of the neck is out of alignment, that’s where the Trigeminal Nerve inserts into the brainstem and sends its messages to the brain. What happens is that the Trigeminal Nerve is a sensory nerve, so it sends messages of sensation from the face to the brain, and in the case of Trigeminal Neuralgia, there’s nothing wrong with the face; the face is perfectly fine. But, somewhere between the face and the brain, there’s a message that gets interpreted as pain that ends up at the brain.
How can that happen?
Well, somewhere between the nerve, sensation, which is in the face, and the message, there’s only one place that that nerve can really be interfered with and that’s at the brainstem. If one of the bones here is out of alignment, it quite literally interferes with the normal transmission from the face to the brain. Like stepping on a garden hose, it can actually alter the sensation to the brain, telling the brain that there is pain in the face when there’s really nothing there creating the pain, but the pain is what the brain senses. What we have found is that we can find that misalignment, and if we can just so simply move the bone back where it’s supposed to be, taking the pressure off of where the nerve inserts to the brainstem, then the normal message, no pain in the face, gets to the brain unimpeded, unaltered, taking away the sensation of pain. Okay?
Where does it come from?
How does that bone get out of alignment? Well, some sort of a trauma. It could have been months ago, years ago, decades ago. It could have been birth, we don’t know. Looking at x-rays we can give you a pretty good timeframe. But if you had some sort of trauma, it could have been a car wreck, could have been a fall, could have been a slap upside the head, or a sports injury. There are so many different ways one of those little bones can move just enough. Now, the brain still doesn’t have any pain perception, so you don’t have to have neck pain or headaches or anything like that. But it could be interfering with a message for years between your brain and your body to the point for eventually just start affecting the Trigeminal Nerve.
There are things that make that misalignment worse over time, and we’re all exposed to stress: physical, chemical, emotional. And those stresses can actually make the misalignment worse. The body tenses and pulls and makes it worse and worse and worse to the point to where it starts to produce symptoms. Our approach as Upper Cervical Chiropractors is to find that very specific minute misalignment that could be interfering with the messages to the brain from the face. We remove it, open the message up, then the brain starts to get the normal message.