Home Remedies For Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition characterized by a stabbing, electric shock-like pain on the face. In most cases, the pain is only felt on one side of the face, but in about 10% of all cases of trigeminal neuralgia, the pain is felt on both sides of the face. The pain can last for a few seconds to several minutes, and at times, one can experience a series of painful episodes that last for hours. Trigeminal neuralgia can be triggered by various factors including brushing teeth, eating (chewing), drinking, shaving, applying makeup, and even a soft touch on the face. In short, any activity, no matter how small it is on your facial features can trigger a trigeminal neuralgia episode.[1]

Home Remedies For Trigeminal Neuralgia

Home Remedies For Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is usually treated with either medication or surgery. In other cases, it can be treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), which is a less invasive procedure compared to surgery. For medication and stereotactic body radiation therapy, it may take a while for the treatment plans to make the pain go away for good. Even though one may experience pain relief, it is usually short-lived and pain can reoccur at some point. Surgery, in particular, microvascular decompression, offers a long-term relief, and it is unlikely that the pain will reoccur.

With that said, if you are on medication, or have undergone SBRT, as you await the treatment to take effect, you can try out a few home remedies to help with the pain. Applicable home remedies include; heat therapy, cold therapy, and pressure. Depending on the area affected, which can either be the cheek, jaw, forehead, teeth, or eye, you can use a hot compression or hot water bottle to offer pain relief to that area. Alternatively, you can take a hot shower or bath, or if available, sit in a hot sauna. For cold therapy, you can use an ice pack wrapped in a towel to numb the pain. As an individual, if cold is a triggering factor for trigeminal neuralgia, then avoid this remedy, and opt for a more friendly option. Despite the fact that for some, a soft touch on the face can trigger the electrical shock-like pain, applying pressure on the affected area can offer relief. Use your hand to apply a reasonable amount of pressure on the pain area until the pain has gone away.[2]

One of the causes of trigeminal neuralgia is eating, or rather chewing food. While the action itself causes debilitating pain, on some occasions, the food can be a contributing factor to the pain. There is no specific dietary study on neuropathic facial pain, but it is only wise to avoid any foods that may stimulate the central nervous system, thus triggering trigeminal neuralgia. Foods that may trigger pain include those with a heat sensation such as chili and hot sauce, cold sensation – mint – and foods that are sweet or sour. Other dietary considerations you can consider may involve abstaining from fatty foods, caffeine, and aspartame. Foods that are pain safe include; brown rice, pears, cranberries, artichokes, broccoli, cherries, asparagus, spinach, sweet potatoes, and beans to name but a few.[3]

Important Thing To Remember

Everyone has their own triggering factors, and although some may be common for all, the nature in which they experience the pain is variate. It is important that you are aware of your triggers so that you are able to minimize the incidences of trigeminal neuralgia. For patients who have experienced this condition, they are well aware of the excruciating pain one feels. If you are not aware of your pain triggers, you can keep a diary where you record the pain incidences and the activities you were involved in prior to the pain attack. By doing so, you will be in a better place to know your triggers and you can find ways to avoid them.[2]

Conclusion

Home remedies for trigeminal neuralgia are not a cure, but they can be effective enough to keep the pain at bay. They can be useful to patients who are awaiting medication, as well as those in the recovery period. In cases where trigeminal neuralgia does not seem to go away after trying out medication and stereotactic body radiation therapy, you should be open to surgery (microvascular decompression), to help alleviate the pain long term.

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