What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic, painful condition that affects the Trigeminal nerve. It is a nerve disorder. The Trigeminal nerve is a 5th head nerve supplying to the face and has three divisions; the ophthalmic branch, the maxillary branch, and the mandibular branch. One or more of the three branches of the nerve may be affected. The damage to the nerve may give rise to intense excruciating, burning, stabbing pain. The pain usually occurs on one side of the face. One of the causes of this may be a blood vessel causing pressure on the root of the Trigeminal nerve.
Homeopathic treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Homeopathy works effectively in most cases of Trigeminal Neuralgia.
- Homeopathy is also effective in the many resistant cases of Trigeminal Neuralgia.
- It can be taken along with the medicines prescribed by the neuro physician.
- It is safe and non-toxic and does not interfere with other medicines.
- Homeopathic remedies control the underlying process of nerve damage.
- Every patient is evaluated on the basis of his/her case history and the remedy is selected on the basis of individual case analysis.
- Some of the commonly indicated remedies for Trigeminal Neuralgia are Silicea, Mezereum, Spigelia, Phosphorous, Aurum metallicum. It is not advisable to take these medicines unless they are recommended by a homeopathic physician.
Scope of improvement using homeopathy:
- The intensity and frequency of the pain reduce after taking homeopathic medicines.
- The frequency, intensity, and duration of attacks are expected to reduce once one starts with the homeopathic treatment.
- The pain threshold in patients suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia improves after taking homeopathic medicines.
- It helps to reduce the dependence on conventional medications by reducing the dose once the improvement sets in. This should be done slowly and under the supervision of a homeopathic doctor.
Duration of homeopathic treatment:
The treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia would be long-standing as it is a chronic disease. Most patients would experience amelioration or improvement in about four to six weeks. The course of the treatment may be longer depending on many factors.
- The recent case of Trigeminal Neuralgia would respond faster.
- Patients who have not been on conventional medicines respond faster to homeopathic treatment.
- Patients with nerve compression may take a longer time to show improvement.
- When associated with multiple sclerosis, it may take a longer time to respond and is difficult to treat.
Pathogenesis of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal Neuralgia is also known as tic douloureux (French word).
The Trigeminal nerve carries the sensation of the face to the brain. It has three branches, hence the name trigeminal.
- The first branch is the ophthalmic branch which controls the eye, upper eyelid, the tip of the nose, and forehead.
- The second branch is the maxillary branch and is responsible for the sensations affecting the side of the nostril, lower eyelid, upper lip, cheek, and upper gum.
- The third branch is the mandibular branch which controls the jaw, lower lip, lower gums, and muscles involved in chewing.
The area or the location of the pain depends on the branch that is affected.
The exact cause of Trigeminal Neuralgia is unclear. It may occur due to a blood vessel causing pressure on the root of the nerve, which may cause the loss of myelin sheath around the nerve. The compression at the root may also be the result of a tumor that is pressing onto the blood vessel.
Sometimes more than one branch of the Trigeminal nerve may be affected. Trigeminal Neuralgia may occasionally be associated with inflammatory disorders like Multiple sclerosis, Scleroderma, Sarcoidosis, Systemic lupus erythematosus. When associated with systemic diseases, it is difficult to treat.
How prevalent is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal Neuralgia has an incidence of 5.7 per 100,000 women and 2.5 per 100,000 men. The exact global incidence is not clearly known. All in all, one in about 25000 persons suffers whit this disease. Most of them are affected by the age group of 50-70 years. There is a higher prevalence of Trigeminal Neuralgia in women older than 40 years of age.
Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Patients suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia may experience any one or all the following symptoms:
- Intense burning or stabbing pain- this pain may be felt like an electric shock.
- Shooting pain along the course of the nerve.
- Pain on one side of the face.
- There might be bouts of pain lasting from a few seconds to minutes.
- The pain may be triggered by touch, chewing, speaking, washing the face or brushing, shaving, eating, or drinking.
- The pain may be there along with any one of the branches of the Trigeminal nerve or along all the branches.
- There might be intermittent periods when there is no pain.
- These painful attacks may become more frequent over a period of time if left untreated.
- Tingling and numbness may or may not be present.
- Headache may or may not be present along with the pain on the face.
- The frequency and intensity of pain increases in a cold climate.
Complications of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal Neuralgia can lead to a few complications like double vision, jaw weakness, or loss of a corneal reflex.
Diagnosis of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Diagnosis of Trigeminal Neuralgia is mainly based on the description of the pain that is, the type of pain, the location of pain, and the triggers of the pain.
A neurological examination to check the reflexes may also help in the diagnosis of Trigeminal Neuralgia.
An MRI scan is often advised to verify whether the pain is due to multiple sclerosis or a tumor that is pressing on the nerve root.
Conventional treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia may include:
1) Pain killers: Anticonvulsants- These may include medicines like Mazetol and Tegretol
3) Antispasmodic agents- These are muscle-relaxing agents like Baclofen.
4) Botox injections- These may help a few individuals who no longer respond to other medications
5) Surgery- Removal of the blood vessel (Microvascular decompression), Glycerol injection (to block pain signals), Balloon compression (to block pain signals).
These conventional medications may have certain side effects like dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, nausea, suicidal thoughts, etc. Also, these medications may become less effective over time.
Supportive measures for Trigeminal Neuralgia (Diet, lifestyle, etc. )
Trigeminal Neuralgia may affect your social life, your interactions with your family and friends. It may also affect one’s productivity at work.
The following steps may help prevent attacks:
- Eating soft semi-solid foods like khichdi, upma, dhokla, idli, etc
- Avoid either very hot or too cold foods
- Wash the face with lukewarm water, avoid cold water
- One can use a soft cotton towel to wash or wipe the face
- Rinse the mouth with lukewarm water as tooth brushing may trigger an attack.
- Avoid known triggers
- Cover the face with a scarf while traveling
- Avoid exposure to direct winds, fan or A/c
Managing the symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia can drastically improve the quality of life.
Our experience in treating Trigeminal Neuralgia at Life Force
Dr. Rajesh Shah, at Life Force, has been treating patients with Trigeminal Neuralgia since 1984. We have expertise in treating over 1100 cases of Trigeminal Neuralgia (by August 2019) which have been documented. Every patient is treated individually based on his/her symptoms. The individual case is evaluated and medicines are prescribed on the basis of the kind of pain, sensation, occurrence, recurrence, frequency, triggering factors, etc. The medicines prescribed based on this fine evaluation, help reduce the intensity and frequency of episodes eventually leading to remission. The results have been inspiring and patients have expressed their gratitude to Dr. Shah and also towards the treatment.
The success rate in treating Trigeminal Neuralgia at Life Force is about 70%. However, no claim is made for 100% recovery. The treatment protocol at Life Force has been made available to patients with Trigeminal Neuralgia in 180 countries.
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