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Chiropractic Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment

Posted in Trigeminal Neuralgia on Dec 18, 2017

Our Los Angeles offices have been offering Blair Upper Cervical chiropractic trigeminal treatment for 16 years. Unlike medical care who aims to prescribe painkilling to help mask the pain, Blair Upper Cervical care has the goal of increasing your body's adaptive and healing potential by removing nerve irritation at the brainstem (upper neck) level. 

In this article, we will discuss how an injury to the upper cervical spine can cause a cascade of effects through the nervous system and how this can be a cause of trigeminal neuralgia and other chronic health conditions.

An interesting study was published in Dec. of 2001 in the Journal of Spinal Disorders, that looked at the correlation between whiplash trauma and trigeminal sensibility. The outcome of the study was whiplash trauma increased the sensitivity of the trigeminal nerve and it persisted over years following the trauma.

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 Dr. Burcon chiropractic researcher in Michigan has drawn a correlation between whiplash type trauma and the onset of trigeminal neuralgia and Meniere’s disease. His research found that the trigeminal neuralgia and Meniere’s disease had an average onset of 13 years following major whiplash trauma.

 It appears that neck injury damages the ligaments and soft tissue that support normal movement in the neck. When this occurs, it affects the brainstem and central nervous system. Over time a cascade of neurological effects evolves, and chronic degenerative disease processes can ensue. (1)

What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?

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Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a condition that causes intermittent, shooting pain in the face. Trigeminal neuralgia affects the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve 5). The trigeminal nerve controls sensations of touch, pain, pressure, and temperature to the brain from the face, gums, jaw, forehead, and eyes.

Trigeminal Neuralgia results in sudden, extreme, electric shocks, or stabbing pain that lasts seconds or minutes depending on the case. The pain can is felt on the face and around the lips, eyes, nose, head, and forehead. TN Symptoms may be brought by teeth brushing, putting on makeup, touching the face, swallowing, and even from a slight breeze. Attacks can vary in frequency from case to case but usually come in clusters. Some TN cases have long dormant periods between episodes.



Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia

 According to Wikipedia “Atypical trigeminal neuralgia (ATN), or type 2 trigeminal neuralgia, is a form of trigeminal neuralgia, a disorder of the fifth cranial nerve. This form of nerve pain is difficult to diagnose, as it is rare and the symptoms overlap with several other disorders.[1] The symptoms can occur in addition to having migraine headache or can be mistaken for migraine alone, or dental problems such as temporomandibular joint disorder or musculoskeletal issues. ATN can have a wide range of symptoms and the pain can fluctuate in intensity from mild aching to a crushing or burning sensation, and also to the extreme pain experienced with the more common trigeminal neuralgia.

 TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA SYMPTOMS:

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  • Extreme episodes of shooting pain similar to electric shocks.
  • Spasms of pain that last from seconds to minutes.
  • Intermittent spasms of mild pain.
  • Pain in the gums, teeth, jaw, and forehead.
  • periods of pain which can be provoked by chewing, talking or gentle touching of the face.
  • Pain can be on one side or both sides of the face.
  • Some patients experience numbness in the face prior to the pain starting.



Trigeminal Neuralgia Causes:

 TN developing after Dental Procedures

There are many theories surrounding the causation of trigeminal neuralgia. In our Los Angeles Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic office, we see many TN cases that developed following dental implants, root canals, and oral maxillary facial surgeries. While this is not the only precipitating factor it is one of the major temporal associations.

It is this author's opinion that it is not the dentist that cause TN, however, the forces involved during these procedures can set off an underlying cervical spine weakness. During anesthesia, the body's muscular protective mechanisms are paralyzed making injury to an already structurally unstable neck susceptible to further joint injury.

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Also, dental and facial surgeries often require difficult head positions, and forces applied to the teeth and jaw that can exacerbate a latent structural problem. The brainstem, which runs through the top two vertebrae in the neck, also houses the trigeminal nucleus. Spinal misalignments in this area can result in mechanical traction of the spinal cord resulting in abnormal nervous system function.

TN Caused by Whiplash and Neck Injury?

An interesting study was published in Dec. of 2001 in the Journal of Spinal Disorders, that looked at the correlation between whiplash trauma and trigeminal sensibility. The outcome of the study was whiplash trauma increased the sensitivity of the trigeminal nerve and it persisted over years following the trauma.

 Dr. Burcon chiropractic researcher in Michigan has drawn a correlation between whiplash type trauma and the onset of trigeminal neuralgia and Meniere’s disease. His research found that the trigeminal neuralgia and Meniere’s disease had an average onset of 13 years following major whiplash trauma. It appears that neck injury damages the ligaments and soft tissue that support normal movement in the neck. When this occurs, it affects the brainstem and central nervous system. Over time a cascade of neurological effects evolves and chronic degenerative disease processes can ensue. (1)

Whiplash trauma produces forces within the cervical spine that damage the supporting ligaments and soft tissue that are responsible for normal joint motion. Each joint in the neck houses millions of mechanoreceptors whose job is to relay information to the back part of the brain to maintain normal posture against gravity. When an injury occurs, joint motion is reduced, which results in the abnormal firing of the joint mechanoreceptors. 

This can cause a cascade of abnormal postural influences causing postural imbalance resulting in spinal cord irritation and interference. Dr. Dan Murphy out of the San Francisco Bay Area has written numerous articles regarding whiplash and its global aberrant effects it can have on the central nervous system. (2,3,4) There are numerous case studies in the literature that indicate correcting upper cervical spine injuries, with the manual correction that can correct the underlying cause of trigeminal neuralgia. (5,6)

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Medical Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment

Current medical treatment is focused on pain alleviation NOT LOCATING CAUSATION. Medicine is looking to manage symptom which doesn't ask the question why is this happening. With that said painkillers, seizure medications and other psychiatric drugs have produced relief in a percentage of cases.

  • The first line of treatment is medication.
  • The drug of choice is carbamazepine (Tegretol™), which eliminates or brings acceptable pain relief in 69 percent of patients.
  • Baclofen (Lioresal™) is the second drug of choice and maybe more effective if used with low-dose carbamazepine.
  • Next, we will discuss a little-known procedure that has been found effective at helping the body heal from TN.



Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic- What Is It? Chiropractic Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment

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In our Los Angles Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic office, we take precise imaging to study exactly what is going on inside your spine. Many times, health professionals do not get imaging and end up with poor or no results. Most patients improve with upper cervical care because imaging is not only observed but rigorously studied. An architect builds the blueprint that the contractor executes in constructing a building.

 An upper cervical chiropractor uses imaging as a blueprint to determine how you are built, how your upper neck is out of alignment and how to correct it. Cone Beam Cat Scan (CBCT) is the new generation of imaging that allows for precision in upper cervical care like never before. At Upper Cervical Health Care in Los Angeles, we take our patient's health seriously. Most of the patients we see are chronic, have seen over 20 different doctors, and are desperate for a health solution. While we do not have all the answers, we look at heath from a unique perspective.

We have imaging technology that can precisely detect spinal misalignments that are impacting the central nervous system, and most of the time correct the underlying cause of many chronic health problems. (fig.1)

Figure. 1 Precise imaging allows our doctors to determine exactly how the atlas or axis is out of alignment. This information is then used to make a precise correction with no twisting, popping, or pulling

Blair Upper Cervical Care uses precise techniques to correct – not manipulate – this highly sensitive area of the spine (upper neck). Upper Cervical Health Care of Los Angeles is one of very few upper cervical health centers in the country that utilizes advanced imaging to evaluate and understand the unique details that may be the difference in overcoming your health concern. With upper cervical care, there is never any bending, twisting, popping, cracking or pain with the corrections. Come give us a visit and you will see the CBCT Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic difference.

Our offices have four passionate, well-trained doctors, who have the goal of improving the health and lives of the people we take care of. To schedule a FREE consultation in our office you can call 310 324-6172 for our Carson office or 213 399-7772 for our Los Angeles office (CBCT office). 

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References

1. The Role of the Craniocervical Junction 

2. Whiplash: Fact or Fiction?

3. Resolution of Trigeminal Neuralgia

4. Trigeminal neuralgia and chiropractic care

5. Prospective study of trigeminal sensibility