What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a syndrome of chronic neuropathic facial pain, and is due to an attack of the trigeminal nerve. It mainly affects people aged 50-70, 60% of whom are women. Trigeminal Nerve Neuralgia is an extremely painful condition that usually affects one side of the face. For the most part it happens automatically, however it is sometimes associated with trauma or dental procedures.
The Trigeminal Nerve innervates most of the human face. It is divided into three branches, the ophthalmic, the upper and the lower jaw, which are divided into the facial area.
The most probable cause for pain manifestation of the trigeminal nerve is considered to be its compression by a nearby vessel. This is usually the upper cerebral artery.
Trigeminal Neuralgia may be due to the demyelination of the trigeminal, due to multiple sclerosis or compression of the nerve by a tumor.
Diagnosis and Symptoms
Symptoms appear differently in each person. Seizures can last from a few seconds to several minutes, and the duration of neuralgia can be days, weeks, or even months.
Seizures are triggered by various internal or external factors such as cold, touching, speech, chewing, swallowing, washing the face, shaving, brushing teeth, laughing, and of course by stress of any cause.
Neurological assessment is mandatory for the diagnosis and in most cases MRI is recommended, so that the treating physician can determine whether the Trigeminal Nerve and its branch are involved, as well as to exclude causes that need to be specifically addressed.
MRI is necessary in order to rule out the possibility of multiple sclerosis or secondary pressure of the trigeminal nerve from a tumor.
What Medical Acupuncture can offer?
Medical Acupuncture is an extremely effective and safe method of treating Trigeminal Neuralgia. It can be applied in addition to other treatments, either conventional or alternative, but can also be applied as an exclusive treatment option.
At the first visit for Acupuncture, the patient will be asked for his detailed medical history and a description of his lifestyle. More specifically, the diet, exercise and any other activities which may affect the Trigeminal Nerve.
Acupuncture involves the placement of very fine needles on the patient’s body and face, as well as οn the ear. Especially with the use of Otoacupuncture, we achieve spectacular results in the majority of patients. Withdrawal of severe symptoms is usually observed after the sixth Acupuncture session.
From this point on, Acupuncture sessions are performed at shorter intervals (usually two to three times a week) and the patient’s analgesic medications are gradually reduced. Approximately 12 Acupuncture sessions are required until the complete remission of discomfort, depending on the case. The duration of each session is from 20 to 30 minutes.
For Trigeminal Neuralgia, the results with the application of Acupuncture are very satisfactory, something that was recognized by the W.H.O. at its meeting in December 1979, when the indications of Acupuncture were raised.
Trigeminal Nerve Neuralgia is one of the official evidence that Acupuncture can be used on its own as a treatment option.
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