Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a chronic neurological pain syndrome that affects the trigeminal or 5th cranial nerve, one of the most widely distributed nerves in the head. The trigeminal nerve travels from the brain stem, in the lower brain, to relay sensory signals from the face. As it travels from the brain stem it splits into three branches: the ophthalmic (upper branch) which supplies sensation to the scalp and forehead; the maxillary (middle branch) which carries sensation from the cheek, upper jaw, top lip, upper teeth and gums; and the mandibular (lower branch) which supplies sensation to the lower jaw, lower teeth and gums and bottom lip.
TN is considered by many specialists to be one of the most debilitating and painful syndromes a patient can develop giving rise to its nickname “the suicide disease.”
TN pain arises when one or more of the three paired branches of the trigeminal nerve are damaged or irritated. Damage and/or irritation can be associated with a variety of different factors including: blood vessels pressing on the trigeminal nerve as it exits the brain stem, demyelination of the nerve associated with MS, nerve entrapment in the muscles of the head or jaw, damage from sinus or oral surgery, stroke or direct trauma to the nerve itself from facial trauma.
Advances in imaging have also lead to several recently published research studies that suggest many of these symptoms may have a root cause in injury and/or misalignment of the upper cervical spine that can create venous congestion or direct irritation of the trigeminal nucleus that extends down to the first two vertebrae of the upper neck. This research helps explain way non-invasive procedures such as Blair Upper Cervical chiropractic care helps relieve trigeminal neuralgia in so many cases.
TN typically affects one side of the face, but in some cases the pain may affect different sides of the face at different times or it may affect both sides at the same time.
There are two types of trigeminal neuralgia:
Some people experience both TN1 and TN2 at different times and are often left feeling incapacitated both physically and mentally.
Both forms of TN tend to be progressive with periods between attacks becoming shorter, with the pain becoming increasingly worse and/or debilitating. Often forcing people to avoid social situations and normal activities of daily life to try and avoid an attack.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic care is a very precise and non-invasive procedure that uses specific measurements in posture, autonomic balance, and anatomy to help create a gentle and lasting correction in the alignment and motion of the upper cervical spine. This correction improves brain to body communication allowing the body to heal which may result in:
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