Looking for More Relief for Your Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Facial nerve pain (Trigeminal Neuralgia) sufferers often additional pain relief when they don’t like the side effects of their pain medication. Also, the benefits from medication can wear off requiring new medication mixtures. This can create a situation that feels endlessly frustrating. However, using acupuncture for trigeminal neuralgia offers relief without side effects.
What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal Neuralgia, or Tic Douloureux, is easily defined as facial nerve pain. Unfortunately, the facial pain is anything but easy. For example, pain can come in flashes and be localized (lips and teeth). As a consequence, it can be painful when smiling or eating.
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic condition with no single recommended treatment plan. Pain free “windows” are common in the beginning but unfortunately decrease over time. Multiple sclerosis, tumors, or blood vessels all can injury the trigeminal nerve. On the whole, there are many situations that irritate the trigeminal nerve. Just as there is no single cause for facial pain, there is no single treatment.
The Benefits of Acupuncture on Trigeminal Neuralgia
Acupuncture is an effective solution for those seeking a drug free option. Additionally, acupuncture provides additional relief with pain medications. The combined use of acupuncture and medication is shown to have the best benefit for treating severe trigeminal neuralgia pain.
In TN, the pain starts from cranial nerves in your head. Acupuncture works by calming down the nerves, thus relieving pain. Over time, the benefit increases which results in reduced nerve sensitivity. In the research, trigeminal neuralgia study participants felt the most relief after 5 to 6 acupuncture sessions. Therefore, ten sessions are typically recommended for the most benefit.
Typically, TN patients achieved some level of pain reduction from acupuncture therapy. Most patients have had multiple surgeries and are left with chronic pain. Our focus is always to reduce that pain as fast as possible at every appointment.
A small group of patients continue to be seen occasionally for “tune ups.” Occasionally, there can be patients with seasonal flares. I typically recommend they be seen before their expected seasonal flare. Finally, a very small amount of patients experience ongoing pain and elect to be seen weekly to bi-weekly regularly. Equally important, they receive the benefits of acupuncture while working on the right combination of medications with their medical team.
I encourage anyone with TN to meet with me to discuss goals, symptoms and overall treatment options to get you the relief you deserve.
Wheat Ridge Acupuncturist Dr. Mark VanOtterloo
Dr. Mark VanOtterloo is a licensed acupuncturist and Doctor of Oriental Medicine, located in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He is an integrative, functional medicine practitioner specializing in chronic disease and women’s health, using acupuncture and Chinese herbs in a mainstream medical model. To learn more about how acupuncture helps with Trigeminal Neuralgia pain, contact Dr. Mark VanOtterloo for an appointment or free consultation.
Spacek A, Hanl G, Groiss O, et al. Acupuncture and ganglionic local opioid analgesia in trigeminal neuralgia.
Chang-BeohmAhn, Sang-JuLee, Jang-CheonLee, et al. A Clinical Pilot Study Comparing Traditional Acupuncture to Combined Acupuncture for Treating Headache, Trigeminal Neuralgia and Retro-auricular Pain in Facial Palsy. Accessed October 2018.