Trigeminal Neuralgia

August 19th, 2015 /

About trigeminal neuralgia

Neuralgia is pain caused by damage or irritation to a peripheral nerve, the pain can be mild and only temporary, but is more often experienced as very sharp, shooting along the nerve and attacking repeatedly in a short space of time.


Unspecified neuralgias may be the result of damage at any point along the route of a nerve, the pain being felt at the area the nerve serves. There are also specific types of neuralgia, including: post herpetic neuralgia,( a burning pain that may occur in the site of an attack of shingles); glossopharyngeal neuralgia,( when an intense pain is experienced at the back of the tongue, throat and ear); and trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by sharp shooting pains along a peripheral nerve (5th cranial nerve) the shooting pains are severe and can be experienced several times per day. Causes of neuralgia include injury to or in the nerve, or perhaps an infection which causes inflammation, stress or emotional problems, migraine headaches or and after effects of shingles, trigeminal neuralgia is more common in women than men and is more common in people over the age of 50.



There can be several causes of this condition which include: injury to the affected nerve, drug use, excess glucose in the blood, vitamin deficiencies, lead, mercury and organo-phosphates (used in sheep dip and pesticides, can all cause damage to nerves) stress and emotional issues and viral infection .


There are several natural therapies that can treat trigeminal neuralgia; however the most successful therapy is acupuncture. Many studies have been carried out on the treatment of neuralgia and acupuncture has high level clinical evidence in its support.


When people think about possible treatment options for neuralgia they very seldom think about acupuncture as a treatment option, however acupuncture is very successful at treating neuralgia by reducing the symptoms and the severity of attacks.


Acupuncture is a holistic approach to medicine, where the aim of the treatment is not only to cure health problems but to balance the body, which has the effect of strengthening the immune system and preventing other illness form getting a foothold.

Much of the acupuncture consultation will be dedicated to a detailed system of TCM diagnosis (Traditional Chinese Medicine).



Successful acupuncture treatment depends on an accurate TCM diagnosis, so the initial consultation begins with typical questions such as: Your complete medical history, the symptoms you are experiencing, any pain you have had or are suffering from and what makes it feel better or worse, your sleep patterns, whether you experience any sensations of hot or cold, and whether you experience dizziness, what you’re eating habits are, bowel movements and family health history.


During the consultation the acupuncturist will also note certain observations, such as: posture, facial colour, facial expression, the brightness of your eyes or lack of, for example: a white face is linked to disharmony within the body or cold deficiency syndromes, a yellow complexion is related to dampness and a red complexion is a sign of excess heat syndrome.



The tongue is looked at and the pulse is taken and again this is done according to TCM principles. The colour, shape and coating of the tongue can reveal many patterns of illness and the pulse can give an indication of how individual organs are working in the body and whether they are underactive or overactive and whether your body is in a state of excess or deficiency.



Once the initial consultation is complete a TCM diagnosis is formed and from this diagnosis acupuncture point selection is then possible.

The length of treatment will depend on several factors, such as: the type of illness you have and its duration i.e. chronic or acute, your age, your individual healing abilities, how well you respond to acupuncture and whether you can avoid the conditions/cause of your presenting health issue. However many people can feel a difference in their health with only one or two appointments, but in general you should see some improvements after 3-4 treatments.



Because everyone is an individual, response times to acupuncture can vary, for example. After your first acupuncture appointment you may feel no improvement in your presenting complaint, however many people feel sleepy, revitalized, or sometimes a little spaced out after treatment. You can also feel an immediate improvement after acupuncture; alternatively you can feel a little worse, before you start to feel better. Acupuncture can bring emotional, mental and physical problems to the surface, however this is a positive sign so don’t worry about it. As with any treatment, complete recovery takes time and patience.



A case of trigeminal neuralgia

Edith S. presented to the clinic complaining of trigeminal neuralgia. She had intense nerve pain running down the right hand side of her face. The pain was so bad it would generally wake her up every couple of hours. After Edith had done a little bit of research about her condition over the internet, she discovered acupuncture to be viable option for her condition, so Edith booked her first acupuncture appointment.

Edith’s first treatment gave relief from her condition by 30%. Her second appointment was scheduled for 2 days later where she gained an additional improvement, taking her to a 50% reduction in her symptoms. This improvement continued for the duration of her treatment. A total of 15 acupuncture sessions were required, which lead to complete remission of her neuralgic symptoms. Edith’s treatment schedule primarily consisted of acupuncture, however Bowen therapy and 2 indicated supplements were also included with her treatment. The acupuncture schedule worked out at 3 sessions per week for 2 weeks, then 2 sessions per week for a further 3 weeks and finally weekly appointments for 3 weeks. Edith has now been pain free for over 6 months.



Regardless of your medically diagnosed condition natural medicine has something to offer.

If you would like to find out if acupuncture can help your health and wellbeing then call, 94781415 or email us via our contact page to discuss your requirements or to find out more about acupuncture please go to our FAQs page. Alternatively give acupuncture a try and make an appointment now.

 Best of health.

Paul Neilson CMP. L.Ac. ND. DHM.





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