Trigeminal Neuralgia

Chinese Medicine has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of Pain

Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that is defined by pain in the face.

The trigeminal nerve has three distinct regions, called V1, V2, and V3.

Each of these subdivisions affects different facial regions, as illustrated by distinguished colours in the picture (R). Pain can manifest very specifically in one or more of these regions at a time. Excruciating pain can be felt in the face, either spontaneously or from the simplest of stimulation of touch or even when brushing the teeth or eating. Spontaneous sharp jabbing or electric shock-like sensations can be felt. Initially, these may be infrequent, but can develop into longer and longer episodes of pain that can last from a few seconds to a few minutes at a time. 

 

Western medicine attributes the cause of trigeminal neuralgia to the aging process, as a result of myelin sheath deterioration, to neurological conditions such as MS, or to other simple causes like local inflammation.  

 

Many pain medications are ineffective in stopping this type of pain, and hence, anticonvulsant medication is often employed. It is important to investigate trigeminal neuralgia with neurological exams to rule out any other condition that may be causing it.

Note the three coloured regions in the above image.  The distribution of the Trigeminal nerve is very specific and hence, any or all of these regions may be affected during the conditions

From a Chinese medicine perspective, the reason for manifestation and the treatment of this condition vary greatly from the western worldview.  Chinese medicine treats any clinical presentation from within its own holistic and integral approach.  The treatment protocol is strictly governed by the detailed diagnostic process that emerged of its own paradigm. Chinese medicine does not treat a disease as such; it treats people with particular patterns that manifest in specific ways within their individual circumstances. It isn't the Bells Palsy that we treat. Rather it is the person, the whole person and their unique manifestation. This is how Chinese medicine has operated successfully for millennia.  

 

Chinese medicine sees facial pain of this type as a disturbance of the natural flow of Qi and blood to the face. Acupuncture is used to restore the natural flow of energy (Qi) and blood in the affected area.  Very fine, single-use, sterile needles are inserted into specific body points. The selected points have a direct effect on particular facial areas. Points are carefully chosen to enable the best possible result in the shortest possible time, and with the least possible number of points.  

 

Because of the serious nature of the pain involved with trigeminal neuralgia, it may be necessary to take herbs that have a Qi and blood moving quality. Your  practitioner will most likely suggest that you see a neurologist to rule out any more serious underlying condition and will proceed to treat you with either acupuncture and/or herbal medicine.  Herbal medicine can be offered in conjunction with biomedical drugs, while ensuring that there are no unwanted interactions.

 

Chinese medicine's approach has the potential to significantly reduce the initial pain and later assist in long-term wellness, treat any other underlying issues, and prevent and preserve general health and wellbeing.

Feel free to call the clinic and discuss your case. 

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