Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a neuropathic pain syndrome characterized by severe unilateral paroxysmal facial pain. The trigeminal nerve is responsible for sending impulses of touch, pain, pressure and temperature to the brain from the face, jaw, gums, forehead and around the eyes. The disorder is more common in women than in men and rarely affects anyone younger than 50.
- Medications are the first line of treatment for TN. While some patients respond to moderate doses of single-drug therapy and microvascular decompressions (MVD`s), many others suffer through prolonged unsuccessful treatment approaches. This includes large doses of medications with adverse effects, complications related to surgery, and postoperative relapse of symptoms. The side effects of the various antiepileptic medications often prescribed for TN patients include dizziness, ataxia, nausea, vomiting, hematological abnormalities, and cardiac arrhythmia. In addition, a high proportion of TN patients take pain medications including narcotics
- Acupuncture has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a scientific therapeutic modality with an effective pain-relieving ability. The beauty of acupuncture treatments is that they are virtually devoid of side effects, non-invasive and extremely safe. It is postulated that the insertion of acupuncture needles causes enhanced blood flow to the affected area. With multiple acupuncture treatments, the cumulative effect may actually lead to nerve repair in the case of the demyelinated trigeminal sensory fibers.