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Trigeminal Neuralgia

About Trigeminal Neuralgia

What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia ?

Trigeminal neuralgia is a neurological disorder characterized by severe, stabbing, and sudden-onset facial pain. It is often described as one of the most intense and excruciating types of pain a person can experience. The excruciating, stabbing sensations primarily affect the lower face and jaw, extending at times to the regions around the nose and above the eye. Typically confined to one side of the face, trigeminal neuralgia can be triggered by routine actions like brushing teeth, eating, or exposure to the wind. Although the initial attacks may be mild and brief, untreated trigeminal neuralgia can progressively worsen over time.

Unlike migraines or tension headaches, trigeminal neuralgia pain is typically short-lived but can be extremely intense. The pain can be so severe that it may be mistaken for dental problems, leading to unnecessary dental procedures.

Trigemianl Neuralgia Diagnosis

How Do We Diagnose Trigeminal Neuralgia ?

Diagnosing trigeminal neuralgia involves a thorough medical history review, neurological examinations, and sometimes imaging studies like MRI to rule out other potential causes of facial pain.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Symptoms

Facial pain

Episodes of sharp, intense, stabbing pain

Neck pain or stiffness

Treating Trigeminal Neuralgia With The Watson Headache® Approach

Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment

The treatment of trigeminal neuralgia focuses on reducing and managing symptoms and preventing future episodes. Treatment options may include medications prescribed by your doctor or neurologist, trigeminal nerve blocks and urgeries.

Headache Practitioners assist in identifying triggers and making appropriate lifestyle modifications, such as managing stress, maintaining regular sleep patterns, and avoiding known triggers, can help reduce symptoms.

Manual therapy treatment to desensitise the brainstem has been effective in managing the condition. Education and support in recognizing symptoms, managing attacks, guidance in coping strategies and seeking medical help when needed, is also important.

Researchers have identified that a key area in the brainstem called trigeminocervical nucleus. It is positioned in the lower aspect of the brainstem and it receives information from the top three cervical spine (neck spine) and from areas where trigeminal nerve supplies.

Understanding the relationship between the upper neck and the brainstem’s trigeminocervical nucleus has enabled treatment options for patients other than medication, nerve block and surgery.


For further reading about managment strategies for Trigeminal Neuralgia  read our blogs on Diet, Sleep Hygiene and Watson Headache.

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