Trigeminal neuralgia is a painful condition in which the nerves in the face get compressed and become quite painful. Unfortunately, this pain can occur at any point in time and there is no way to predict when an episode would set in. Permanent relief from the symptoms can be promised only by total and permanent interruption of the nerve.
These methods can help alleviate the pain to some extent such as acupuncture and acupressure, Chinese herbs like Dang Gui, tai chi exercise and massage, drinking a herbal tea concoction made of chamomile or passion flower, applying ice to the pain zones, alternate hot or cold therapy, and controlling the trigger factors.1 Let us now look into what trigeminal neuralgia is and the remedies you can use to tackle these attacks.
Symptoms And Causes Of Trigeminal Neuralgia
The trigeminal nerves in your face play the important role of conveying the sensory information from the face to the brain. The pressure in the blood vessels can disrupt the function of these nerves and can cause the brief but severe stabbing pain on one side of the face which is the predominant symptom of trigeminal neuralgia. Trigeminal neuralgia can cause additional discomfort like tooth pain. The pain can be triggered by touching certain areas of the face or by eating.
You can have very sensitive trigger zones from which attacks are provoked. However, there are no permanent neurological disorders associated with the pain though you can experience intense pain during the short attacks. It can also be associated with other illnesses like multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and even tumors which can aggravate the pain. In severe cases, your speech can become slurred with difficulty in eating and drinking.2
Remedies For Trigeminal Neuralgia
1. Acupuncture And Acupressure
Acupuncture is the most sought after therapy for neurological conditions. It can slow down and reverse the progression of pain in trigeminal neuralgia. It is also helpful in treating the fatigue associated with this condition. Acupuncture is an effective alternative therapy that can reduce speech slurring, improve the motor function, and reduce the mental disturbances that are associated with this disorder.
Acupressure is the non-invasive form of acupuncture. It can help to relieve the excruciating facial pain. Acupuncture and acupressure are very efficient in pain management associated with this condition.3
2. Massage And Chinese Herbs
Massage can be hugely helpful if you have the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia. It can help promote inner harmony, lower anxiety levels and lessen depression. Massaging the temples and the sides of your head above and around your ears can be beneficial in smoothening the trigeminal nerves.
Tai chi when practiced by standing in deep water and deep breathing helps with pain management and in reducing the fatigue.4 Chinese herbs like Dang Gui promote blood circulation and can treat facial pain. Herbs like St John’s wort can also be used to treat neuralgia.5
3. Herbal Tea
You can drink a tea concoction made of chamomile or sunflower petal extracts to treat the severe pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties and can be effective for soothing the nerves.6 Passion flower has sedative effects and hence can reduce pain. It can also calm the nerves to a great extent.7
4. Alternate Hot Or Cold Therapy
Applying ice to the pain areas in the face can reduce pain to some extent. Warm water also increases the blood flow which helps in muscle relaxation and to reduce the aggravating pain.
Hence, alternating hot or cold therapy can be highly beneficial for reducing the pain, fatigue and to lessen the tension in the muscles and the nerves.8 Other exercises like hydrotherapy can be used frequently for management of pain in patients with neuralgic pain.
5. Controlling The Trigger Factors
Controlling the trigger factors is the preventive measure you can take to get rid of the trigeminal neuralgia attacks. The trigger factors can include eating and drinking cold liquids, talking too much, chewing and brushing of the teeth. The trigger points in the face can be extremely sensitive that just a slight brush over the face can cause severe pain. It can occur repeatedly throughout the day or at times based on the stimuli. Hence, avoiding these triggers in the first place can save you from the pain attacks.9
Trigeminal neuralgia may not be a serious disorder but can cause excruciating pain most of the time. Avoiding the occurrence of the symptoms by controlling the trigger factors and treating the condition appropriately will help alleviate the pain to a great extent.
|↑1||Namjooyan, Foroogh, Rahil Ghanavati, Nastaran Majdinasab, Shiva Jokari, and Mohammad Janbozorgi. “Uses of complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis.” Journal of traditional and complementary medicine 4, no. 3 (2014): 145-152.|
|↑2||Sweet, William H. “The treatment of trigeminal neuralgia (tic douloureux).” New England Journal of Medicine 315, no. 3 (1986): 174-177.|
|↑3||Nguyen, T., A. Argyrakis, T. T. Nguyen, H. Eckel, and W. Vogelsberger. “EHMTI-0263. WHO step scheme into combination with a therapeutical local anesthesia (TLA), physiotherapy, TENs, phytotherapy, acupressure, acupuncture for chronically therapy resistant trigeminal neuralgia after Trang.” The journal of headache and pain 15, no. 1 (2014): C47.|
|↑4||Ekram, ARM Saifuddin, Ng Louisa, Bhasker Amatya, and Fary Khan. “Chronic pain in multiple sclerosis: an overview.” American Journal of Internal Medicine 2, no. 2 (2014): 20-25.|
|↑5||Liang, Haiying, Meaghan E. Coyle, Kaiyi Wang, Anthony Lin Zhang, Xinfeng Guo, Hongyi Li, Charlie Changli Xue, and Chuanjian Lu. “Oral Chinese herbal medicine for post-herpetic neuralgia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” European Journal of Integrative Medicine 10 (2017): 46-56.|
|↑6||Theoharides, Theoharis C. “Anti-inflammatory compositions for treating neuro-inflammation.” U.S. Patent Application 13/722,397, filed December 20, 2012.|
|↑7||Ingale, Suvarna, and Sanjay Kasture. “Evaluation of analgesic activity of the leaves of Passiflora incarnata Linn.” International Journal of Green Pharmacy (IJGP) 6, no. 1 (2012).|
|↑8||Frontera, Walter R., Silver, Julie K. and Rizzo, Thomas D. “Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation E-Book.” Elsevier Health Sciences, 2014.|
|↑9||Krafft, Rudolph M. “Trigeminal neuralgia.” Am fam physician 77, no. 9 (2008): 1291-1296.|