Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a condition that affects the trigeminal nerve (the 5th cranial nerve), one of the largest nerves in the head. TN is primarily known for the intense level of pain it causes. The trigeminal nerve is responsible for sending impulses of touch, pain, pressure and temperature to the brain from the face, jaw, gums, and forehead and around the eyes. The disorder is more common in women than in men and rarely affects anyone younger than 50.

TN is characterized by a sudden, severe, electric shock-like or stabbing pain typically felt on one side of the jaw or cheek. Talking, brushing teeth, touching the face, chewing or swallowing, may trigger the attacks of pain, which generally last several seconds and may be repeated one after the other. The attacks may come and go throughout the day and last for days, weeks or months at a time, and then disappear for months or years.

The exact cause of TN is not known. However, certain factors – such as physical nerve damage and stress – can trigger the beginning of the painful attacks. Nerve damage may occur as the nerve passes from the openings in the skull to the muscles and tissue of the face. As the damage compresses the nerve, the nerve cells shed a protective and conductive coating known as myelin. Myelin acts as an insulator. Without this insulation, information from nerves would be transmitted inefficiently. This may result in weakness, sensory loss or other neurologic dysfunction. Damage may also be the result of a biochemical change in the nerve tissue itself or an abnormal blood vessel compressing the nerve as it exits from the brain. In almost all cases, an excessive burst of nervous activity from a damaged nerve causes the painful attacks.
Psychological stress can be the cause as well as the outcome of TN. In clinical studies, patients have been known to report TN following major stress like divorce, the death of close family members, a job change, or unhealthy family relationships.

There are many ways to treat TN through pharmaceuticals and surgery both carries risk and can be ineffective. Another approach is a natural one. The nutritional therapy for trigeminal neuralgia aims at nutrients that soothe and strengthen the nervous system and avoid foods and drinks that irritate it.

  • Vitamin B Complex (50 mg three times a day) Very important to ensure the proper functioning of the nervous system.
  • Magnesium (250-500 mg once a day) Essential for proper nerve functioning. It also relaxes the nerves.
  • Avoid foods high in sugar, salt, trans-fatty acids, saturated fats and caffeine.
  • Do not smoke
  • Evening Primrose oil (1,000 mg twice a day) is an excellent source of essential fatty acids. It acts as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Massage the area lightly with apple cider vinegar.
  • Acupuncture is an ancient alternative that seeks to find the root of the condition and heal from within.

Works cited:

Webmd.com

NIH.gov

 

Patients receiving acupuncture treatment at the salon

Posted in: Acupuncture, Evidence Based Medicine, Fitness, Health & Wellness

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