Dr. Schurger has been offering Upper Cervical chiropractic Trigeminal Neuralgia treatment for years. Unlike medical care whose aim is to prescribe painkilling to help mask the pain, Upper Cervical care has the goal of increasing your body’s adaptive and healing potential. This is done 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. We will also explain how this can be a cause of Trigeminal Neuralgia and other chronic health conditions.
What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
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. The pain is felt on the face and around the lips, eyes, nose, head, and forehead. TN Symptoms may occur during 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 (ATN), or type 2 trigeminal neuralgia, is 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. The symptoms can occur in addition to having a migraine headache or can be mistaken for a migraine alone. It can also be misinterpreted as dental problems such as the 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. This can also result in the extreme pain experienced with the more common Trigeminal Neuralgia.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Symptoms:
- 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 caused by chewing, talking or gentle touching of the face.
- Pain 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 what causes Trigeminal Neuralgia. In our Springfield Upper Cervical Chiropractic office, we see many TN cases. Most have 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 authors 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. This makes injury to an already structurally unstable neck susceptible to further joint injury. 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. As a result, spinal misalignments in this area can cause 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 a 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, therefore maintaining normal posture against gravity. When an injury occurs, joint motion is reduced. This 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 abnormal 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 manual correction can correct the underlying cause of trigeminal neuralgia. (5,6)
Medical Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment
Current medical treatment’s focus is on pain alleviation, hence NOT LOCATING CAUSATION. Medicine is looking to manage symptoms. Consequently, it doesn’t ask the question “why is this happening?” Therefore, 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% of patients.
- Baclofen (Lioresal™) is the second drug of choice and may be more effective if used with low-dose Carbamazepine.
- Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic, a natural Trigeminal Neuralgia treatment
Upper Cervical Chiropractic- What Is It? Chiropractic Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment
In our Upper Cervical Springfield office, we take precise imaging to study exactly what is going on inside your cervical spine. Many times, health professionals do not take imaging and their patient end up with poor or no results. Most patients improve with upper cervical care because of the precise imaging. These images are 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, so he can understand how your upper neck is out of alignment and how to correct it.
At Upper Cervical Springfield, we take our patients’ health seriously. Most of the individuals we see are chronic, have seen over 20 different doctors, and are desperate for a solution. While we do not have all the answers, we look at health from a unique perspective.
Precise Imaging and Correction for Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment
We have imaging technology that can precisely detect spinal misalignments that are impacting the central nervous system. Most importantly, in doing so, we correct the underlying cause of many chronic health problems.
Detailed imaging allows Dr. Schurger to determine exactly how the atlas or axis is out of alignment. Using this information, he then delivers a precise correction with no twisting, popping, or pulling.
Upper Cervical Care uses precise techniques to correct – not manipulate – this highly sensitive area of the spine (upper neck). Upper Cervical Springfield is one of the very few Chiropractic offices who specialize in the Blair Upper Cervical specific technique. We utilize 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 Upper Cervical difference.
Tired of Constant Pain?
If you are looking for Trigeminal Neuralgia treatment, schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Schurger in Springfield, IL. Upper Cervical Springfield’s focus is removing interferences, therefore allowing your body to function properly. We get to the root cause and do not treat the effects. Start your journey back to health today!