Have you been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia (TGN), and are you looking for relief? If you’ve tried trigeminal neuralgia natural treatment options, you are now probably seeking something that provides reliable results.
The trend toward natural treatments for many conditions is growing. Solid research shows that some medical issues respond to natural treatments while others don’t respond well, if at all. TGN falls into the latter category; no effective natural treatment protocol has been established to relieve sufferers of the pain and discomfort of this condition.
An Overview of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Twelve main sets of cranial nerves send signals to and from different parts of your head. Your trigeminal nerve is considered the fifth cranial nerve. It’s responsible for the majority of sensation you feel in your face, including your temples, jaw and cheeks. When this nerve is pinched or damaged, it starts misfiring and sending random, errant signals, manifesting as shooting, stabbing pains that are often reported to feel like an electric shock.
Often, trigeminal neuralgia is due to what is known as an impingement. In the case of TGN, this means the nerve is being pressed into or between one or more blood vessels. As the blood pounds through this vein or artery, it impacts the nerve, causing it to misfire and create the pain impulses.
Other causes of TGN can include trauma or injury to the nerve, multiple sclerosis and other degenerative diseases that can damage the nerve in some way. Regardless of the cause, it’s a painful, debilitating condition that needs to be addressed by a qualified neurologist.
Natural Treatments for Trigeminal Neuralgia
Literally hundreds of natural treatments are recommended for trigeminal neuralgia, from herbal supplements to meditation to visualization. Many claim they can “cure” trigeminal neuralgia, but like many conditions, there is no true cure for trigeminal neuralgia, only intervention and management. The most popular of the natural treatments that claim to offer relief are covered here.
It’s been suggested in some circles that increasing your intake of certain vitamins, minerals and compounds can alleviate trigeminal neuralgia symptoms. Many of the recommended substances can help support a stronger immune system and lower inflammatory responses, but will not bring about enough relief to be significant. Eating certain foods and avoiding others (unless recommended by your medical team) also has little effect on TGN symptoms.
In general, herbal supplements are not capable of bringing about medically-significant changes, and trigeminal neuralgia is no exception. It’s important to err on the side of caution when using herbs because they can interfere with other medications you are taking. As with vitamin and mineral supplements, certain herbs can help support overall health, but no scientific evidence supports their use as an effective trigeminal neuralgia natural treatment.
Hot or Cold Compresses
It might seem as though applying heat or cold to your face would help bring pain relief. This can be effective for toothaches or TMJ, so it stands to reason it would be good for TGN too. Unfortunately, it’s quite the contrary. Often, applying heat or cold (or even touching your face) can trigger trigeminal neuralgia.
Meditation and Yoga
Another common suggestion for trigeminal neuralgia natural treatment is to practice meditation or yoga. Both are excellent for lowering blood pressure, de-stressing and calming the mind, but they don’t provide any significant or long-term relief for trigeminal neuralgia.
The Next Step
If you’ve already exhausted the gamut of natural treatments and are still not finding any significant relief, it’s time to seek out a neurologist who specializes in trigeminal neuralgia. Once you’ve found someone who you like and trust, you can begin to work on a treatment plan that allows you to get your life back and continue doing the things you love. TGN can be a stressful and confusing condition. You shouldn’t have to navigate it on your own.
Numerous treatment options are available if you’ve exhausted your exploration of trigeminal neuralgia natural treatments. They are varied in their delivery, but with the right assessment and administration, can be a complete life changer.
Your doctor will likely first try you on a course of anticonvulsant drugs such as Tegretol or Trileptal to see if your TGN can be managed through medication. It works well for some, but may prove to be ineffective for you. Luckily, other treatments are available.
Microvascular Decompression (MVD)
If medication doesn’t work for you, and your TGN stems from a vein or artery pressing on your trigeminal nerve, you may be a good candidate for microvascular decompression surgery. This surgery entails a neurosurgeon placing a small Teflon pad between the nerve and blood vessel to act as a buffer and prevent irritation.
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery (GKRS)
A noninvasive option, Gamma Knife Radiosurgery uses tiny beams of radiation that, when focused on a point, converge to deliver a dose of radiation. This radiation damages part of the nerve, stopping the misfired impulses that cause pain.
Although not as common as MVD or GKRS, pain stimulators still work wonders for some who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia. Tiny electrodes are threaded beneath the skin to the nerve where they deliver little pulses of energy to interrupt nerve signals that can cause serious facial pain. This is a good option if you don’t respond to other treatments.
While choosing the right treatment can be daunting, know that there are solid, well-researched, proven techniques and procedures for TGN. You owe it to yourself and those you care about to achieve relief from your trigeminal neuralgia.
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