Trigeminal neuralgia….now that’s a mouthful to say, let alone spell! But it’s a real disorder and it affects the big facial nerve in our heads that provides sensations or feeling to our faces. We all have two of these nerves in our heads…one that controls the left side of our faces and another which gives feelings to the right side of our faces. Each of these nerves has three branches: one giving feeling to the eye and brow area, another for the cheek region and the third which gives feeling to the jaw bone region. Sometimes these nerves get a “short circuit” (there is speculation but no clear actual cause!) and begin to give feelings that aren’t there; and these feelings and sensations are VERY bad. They often have a sharp electric or shock feeling but can be tremendously burning as well. Just about anything can set it off…stroking your face, brushing your teeth, shaving, eating, smiling or putting on make-up and the like. These painful feeling can last from a few minutes to days…and may even come and go freuquently for weeks at a time. This nerve disorder usually if noted in people over 50 years of age and more often in women. This is trigeminal neuralgia.
A patient came into our office several months ago who suffered from this debilitating disorder for over 20 years. Let’s call her Anne. She’d been suffering with this disorder for 24 years at the time she first visited us. After this much time suffering, one can imagine the amount of frustration, anger, despair, self-pity, irrtation and the like she’d been experiencing after suffering for such a long period of time. In Anne’s words, “I think I’ve tried everything over these last twenty years…the medications, the injections, the therapies and even brain surgery with the gamma knife on two occasions ….and simply nothing has helped”. She’d been doing research on the internet and rain across several case studies in which people had found relief having been treated by a chiropractic physician.