Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux or the suicide disease, is a chronic (long-lasting) condition affecting the fifth cranial (trigeminal) nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head. Trigeminal neuralgia symptoms include sudden, sharp, stabbing, shock-like, or shooting pain in the face–usually on the right side–often in the jaw or cheek. Medical professionals describe trigeminal neuralgia pain as the worst a person can experience. The attacks usually last a few seconds but may appear and disappear at any time and go on for days, months, or years. Talking, chewing, or swallowing can trigger agonizing pain and difficulty in coping, which is why it’s called the suicide disease. Trigeminal Neuralgia is more common among women than men, usually occurs after the age of 50.
How NUCCA Treatment Can Help TN
There is no clear-cut cause for trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Some say that TN is caused by trauma to the nerve as it passes from the skull to the muscles and tissue of the face. This trauma compresses the nerve, causing the nerve cell to shed its protective and conductive coating. Others believe the cause of TN is a biochemical change in the nerve tissue. Recently, it has been proposed that an abnormal blood vessel compresses the nerve as it exits from the brain. In all cases, an excessive amount of activity from a damaged nerve causes the painful attacks.
Over time, trigeminal neuralgia pain and its symptoms usually increases in severity and frequency. TN patients often require increased doses and more continuous usage of medications. As a result, many TN patients whose pain was initially well controlled with medication find that over time they must increase their medications to toxic levels in order to control their pain. At this point, unless they are willing to exist with the pain or in a toxic state, surgical intervention is suggested.
NUCCA can help trigeminal neuralgia symptoms by correcting the misalignments of the spine caused by trauma, and removing compression of the brain stem and surrounding nerves. After nerve irritation has been removed, proper communication is restored between the brain and spinal cord, and the surrounding nerves. The NUCCA procedure can be helpful by releasing the pressure of the artery or vein pressing on the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain.
Specific imaging studies of the cervical (upper neck) region are conducted to locate a misalignment of the vertebrae. Insight Millenium technology is used to scan and measure the nervous system for possible irritation. If a misalignment has been found to affect the function of the nervous system, very specific gentle adjustments are made, by hand, to correct the misaligned vertebrae in the neck. After the adjustments have been performed, follow-up imaging studies and nervous system scans are taken to confirm a successful spinal correction.
Trigeminal Neuralgia sources
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Web site. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/trigeminal_neuralgia/trigeminal_neuralgia.htm. Accessed February 13, 2005.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Association Web site. Available at: http://www.tna-support.org. Accessed February 13, 2005.
Weigel G. Striking Back! The Trigeminal Neuralgia and Face Pain Handbook . Trigeminal Neuralgia Network, 2004.
Useful Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) Links
- American Chronic Pain Association
Nonprofit organization providing information for patients, families, healthcare professionals interested in learning more about trigeminal neuralgia and other disorders.
- National Chronic Pain Outreach Association
Nonprofit organization dedicated to educating pain sufferers, healthcare professionals, and the public about chronic pain and its management.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Part of the National Institutes of Health; Nation’s leading supporter of biomedical research on disorders of the brain and nervous system; good source of information on trigeminal neuralgia for patients.
- Trigeminal Neuralgia Association
Nonprofit organization; comprehensive source of information on trigeminal neuralgia and related facial pain conditions for patients, their families, doctors, and other medical professionals, policymakers, and the public.