Do you have a sudden, intense, stabbing sensation in your cheek or jaw? If yes, this could be a sign of trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Trigeminal neuralgia, also called tic douloureux, is a neurological disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve, which is the nerve responsible for providing sensation to the face, jaw, and forehead. It is characterized by episodes of intense pain in one or more of these areas and is commonly referred to as the “suicide disease” due to its extreme intensity and duration.
In the United States, a report showed that an estimated 150,000 individuals are diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia annually, with an incidence rate of 12.6 per 100,000 person-years and a prevalence of 155 cases per 1,000,000.
Who is Affected by Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia is more likely to be experienced by people over the age of 50, although it can affect people of all ages, even babies. The risk of TN being caused by multiple sclerosis is higher when it occurs in younger adults, and women are more likely to have it than men.
Types of Trigeminal Neuralgia
There are two types of Trigeminal Neuralgia:
- Classic Trigeminal Neuralgia (Type 1) – Classic Trigeminal Neuralgia (Type 1) is the most common type of TN. It is usually characterized by sudden, severe, stabbing, shock-like facial pain. The pain can be triggered by light touch, hot or cold temperatures, or even speaking. This type of pain is usually intermittent and may last for a few seconds to a few minutes.
- Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (Type 2) – Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (Type 2) is less common than classic TN. It may be characterized by a constant, burning, or aching pain that may last for days or weeks. This type of pain is usually more difficult to treat.
If you are experiencing facial pain, it is important to speak with your doctor about your symptoms so that the proper diagnosis and treatment can be obtained.
What Causes Trigeminal Neuralgia?
The exact cause of trigeminal neuralgia is not known, but it is believed to be caused by compression or irritation of the trigeminal nerve, which is the main nerve responsible for sensation in the face. A number of different factors can also cause trigeminal neuralgia including a tumor, multiple sclerosis, stroke, trauma, or a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve.
Trigger points of trigeminal neuralgia are areas that when pressed or massaged can cause pain in the face. Trigger points can be found on the face, jaw, neck, and scalp, and can be felt as a tender spot when pressure or massage is applied. Additionally, trigger points can be used as a way to identify the source of the pain, as well as provide insight into what activities and environmental factors may be causing it.
Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Symptoms of TN include sudden, severe, and brief episodes of facial pain that can last seconds to minutes. The episodes of pain may be triggered by everyday activities such as: brushing teeth, washing the face, shaving, drinking hot or cold drinks, eating or even smiling and speaking.
Other symptoms of TN may include:
- Burning sensation
- Stabbing pain
- Electric shock-like pain
- Feeling a light breeze
- Tingling feeling in the face
- Jaw pain
The pain can be felt in one or more areas of the face. In other cases, the pain can be spontaneous and can last for short periods of time or can be persistent.
Treatment Options for Trigeminal Neuralgia
Treatment for trigeminal neuralgia is typically aimed at managing and reducing the pain, as well as improving the quality of life. Treatment options may include:
- Injection treatment
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture has been used to treat TN for centuries. It can help reduce pain and improve quality of life. It can also provide relief from the accompanying symptoms of TN, such as headaches and numbness.Overall, there are several treatment options available for trigeminal neuralgia.
The best treatment plan will depend on the individual’s symptoms and medical history. It is important to work with a healthcare professional to develop an effective treatment plan that is tailored to the individual’s needs.
Is acupuncture Good For Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Acupuncture is an effective treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. A review of studies published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that acupuncture was effective at reducing pain and improving quality of life in people with trigeminal neuralgia.
Acupuncture works by stimulating specific points on the body, known as acupoints. When these points are stimulated, it triggers the release of hormones and neurotransmitters, such as endorphins, which can reduce pain. Acupuncture also helps to improve circulation, which can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Acupuncture is safe and has few side effects. It is recommended that people with trigeminal neuralgia seek treatment from a qualified and experienced acupuncturist. A course of acupuncture treatment typically consists of six to twelve sessions, depending on the severity of the condition.
If you are considering acupuncture, it is important to seek treatment from our world class acupuncturist in Gainesville.
Where are Acupuncture Needles Placed For Trigeminal Neuralgia?
The most common acupuncture points used for treating trigeminal neuralgia are located in the head, face, and extremities, include the following:
- Governing Vessel 20 (GV20): GV20 is located at the top of the head, between the two ears. It is used to help calm the nervous system, reduce tension and promote relaxation.
- GB20: GB20 is located at the base of the skull and is used to reduce pain and inflammation.
- LI4: LI4 is located in the webbing between the thumb and forefinger and is used to reduce pain and inflammation.
- ST44: ST44 is located on the outer side of the foot and is used to reduce pain and inflammation.
- EX-HN3: EX-HN3 is located on the outer side of the ear and is used to reduce pain and inflammation.
In addition to these points, the practitioner may use other clinically proven points to help balance the body, reduce pain and inflammation, promote nerve recovery, and improve overall health.
Where to Find an Acupuncturist in Gainesville, Fl?
If you are looking for a qualified acupuncturist, Guan Physical Therapy & Acupuncture is a trusted clinic that offers world class acupuncture and Chinese medicine in Gainesville FL. We are always ready to assist you with your acupuncture needs.
We can also help treat other health conditions with acupuncture, including:
Contact us to set up an appointment or get your inquiries answered. We can’t wait to assist you!
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.