Treating Trigeminal Neuralgia by examining ligaments
For people suffering with this condition and not getting help from the conventional routes, an examination of cervical ligament instability is an option that should be considered.
The ligaments, muscles and tendons in the suboccipital region (back of head) cause an irritation of some autonomic nerves in the neck. These autonomic nerves (stellate ganglion etc.) then cause the severe lancinating pain that these patients often experience. The referral pain can be significant and simulate the pain of trigeminal neuralgia.
If the person is tender in the neck or back of the head to manual palpation, then there is a good chance that Prolotherapy will be the treatment that finally gets rid of their trigeminal neuralgia pain.
Trigeminal neuralgia pain is typically on one side and very, very significant. Sometimes the TMJ needs to be treated, and occasionally a nerve blocks into the trigeminal nerve. Once the TMJ or neck ligaments are tightened with Prolotherapy, the facial pain remits. In our offices, most patients would need to come every 3 to 4 weeks and receive four to seven visits.
Once the ligament laxity has been relieved, so is the autonomic nerve irritation. The net result is a pain-free, happier person.
Case of trigeminal neuralgia helped with Prolotherapy
As discussed, three is often undiagnosed ligament laxity either in the neck or the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) causing referral pain patterns that create symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia.
The patient is a 77 year-old-woman diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia and as with most people with this pain, no one could determine the cause. She had struggled with this pain for five years.
Previous treatments included six root canals and acupuncture yet her pain remained. A friend referred her to Caring Medical for Prolotherapy.
Prolotherapy for Trigeminal Neuralgia
During the patient’s first visit she explained that her greatest pain came with eating, talking and smiling. Often pain would shoot from her lips to her ears.
Dr. Hauser examined the patient’s TMJ and face and determined she would be a good candidate.
Her first treatment consisted of the nerve block to her sphenopalatine ganglion (a group of nerves located in the head, just above the nose) and four dextrose Prolotherapy injections to her left TMJ.
One month later the patient returned and reported that her face was no longer painful to the touch and she no longer had shooting pain from her lips to her ear. She had some pain with talking and eating but was hopeful that the next scheduled treatments would alleviate these problems.
In the Journal of Prolotherapy, our colleagues Eileen Conaway, DO and Brian Browning, DO describe a case history of a 63 year old Hispanic female.
The patient was referred to their office for osteopathic evaluation and treatment for chronic neck and head pain. Among other somatic complaints, her history revealed 13 years of burning pain on the left side of the forehead and scalp.
The pattern of her pain followed the V1 nerve path (see illustration to left). The pain began after undergoing two neurosurgical procedures to repair a cerebral aneurysm.
She reported pain even to light touch of the affected areas of the scalp and was often unable to brush her hair due to the pain it caused. She had tried over the counter analgesics and tramadol-acetaminophen with little relief. She was initially treated with osteopathic manipulation which provided symptomatic relief for a few hours. She was hesitant to try additional medications due to their side effect profile as she also suffered from hypertension, dyslipidemia, and non-insulin dependent diabetes.
She was treated with Neural Prolotherapy on three occasions. The first two injections were one week apart, and the third was 12 weeks later.
After three treatments with Neural Prolotherapy she experienced complete resolution of her V1 branch trigeminal neuralgia. After one year, the patient reports the ability to brush her hair without pain and overall improvement in quality of life and her ability to perform activities of daily living.