Alternative Treatment For Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is chronic painful neuropathy, many patients find it extremely difficult to cope up with the pain and continue with day to day work. There are drugs to reduce the pain and surgical treatment to cure TN. Sometimes even after surgical treatment TN recur or relapse.
Other than the conventional treatment methods there is some complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that can be effective for trigeminal neuralgia patients. The success of CAM treatment depends on the severity and health status of the patients and on the capability of the practitioner. Most of these CAM are non-invasive but there can be side effects and risks associated with each CAM method. Therefore, before you start on CAM take advice from your doctor and make sure you know all details including the risks of the procedure/ technique you are going to follow.
Acupuncture: The analgesic effect of acupuncture is because of increased levels of encephalin, endorphins, and serotonin in brain tissue and plasma. It’s a safe procedure however, there can be complications such as bruising, hematoma, infection at the needle site and metal allergy. (1)
Capsaicin: It’s an anesthetic drug that is used for atypical trigeminal neuralgia pain or for patients not responding to other analgesics.
Homeopathy: The following remedies are used to treat acute flare-ups.
- Magnesium phosphoric
- Verbascum (3)
Ayurvedic Treatment: The following natural herbs have properties can reduce the pain and other symptoms associated with trigeminal neuralgia.
- Shallaki (Boswellia serrate)
- Guggulu (Commiphora wightii)
- Shunthi (Zinciber officinale)
- Rasna (Pluchea lanceolate)
- Errand (Ricinus communis)
- Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) (2)
Electrical Nerve Stimulation: Found to be beneficial in some patients, the action might be similar to acupuncture.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic: Relaxation of muscles also reduces the pain. Chiropractic deals mainly with muscle relaxation and have found to be beneficial.
Vitamin B-12 Injections: Vitamin B-12 is important for nerve health and some patients have shown improvement in TN with B-12 supplements. Although B-12 is still not confirmed as a treatment option.
Nutritional Therapy: Dietary changes such as low-fat diet, fruits, vegetables, whole-grain, and fish oil are found to be beneficial in trigeminal neuralgia patients.
Is Trigeminal Neuralgia Progressive?
Yes, trigeminal neuralgia can be progressive. Initially, most patients experience severe stabbing or burning kind of pain on one side of the face, it comes as a spasm or electric shock. The pain comes in bouts and usually, lasts for seconds or minutes. This kind bouts of pain can continue for days or weeks then it goes into a remission stage where there aren’t any pain episodes. Then again after some time, the pain attacks come back. With time the attacks become severe, can last more days and frequency increase. Some patients experience constant pain with time which can a difficult situation.
Most patients are started on drugs to reduce the pain but with time they become tolerant and develop side effects then surgical treatment is considered. However, some patients experience pain or recurrence of pain after some time even following surgical treatment. (4) (5) (6)
There are many CAM methods available for trigeminal neuralgia such as acupuncture, capsaicin, homeopathy, ayurvedic treatment, electric nerve stimulation, chiropractic, B-12 injections, nutritional therapy, aromatherapy, meditation, and yoga. The success of CAM treatment depends on the severity and health status of the patients and on the capability of the practitioner. Most of these CAM are non-invasive but there can be side effects and risks associated with each CAM method. Therefore, before you start on CAM take advice from your doctor. Trigeminal neuralgia is a progressive disease, initially, it comes as bouts of pain lasting for days or weeks and then remits for some time but with time the pain can be constant.
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