Trigeminal Neuralgia or facial nerve pain, patients often opt for acupuncture to avoid the side effects of their pain medication. The benefits of medication can wear off over time, leading to frustration and the need for new medicines. However, acupuncture for Trigeminal Neuralgia provides a side-effect-free alternative for pain relief.

What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Facial nerve pain, also known as Trigeminal Neuralgia or Tic Douloureux, is a complex condition that is anything but easy. The pain is typically localized in areas such as the lips and teeth, and it can come in sudden flashes, making it uncomfortable to smile or eat. 

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic condition with no single recommended treatment plan. Although pain-free “windows” are standard initially, they tend to decrease over time. The trigeminal nerve is susceptible to damage from tumors, blood vessels, and multiple sclerosis. Additionally, many situations can irritate the nerves. 

There is no single cause for facial pain; no single treatment exists. It is crucial to accurately diagnose the underlying cause of the pain and work with a healthcare professional to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses the individual’s unique needs.

How does acupuncture help with trigeminal neuralgia facial pain?

Acupuncture is an effective drug-free option that provides additional relief in combination with pain medications. The blended use of acupuncture and medication is the most effective treatment for severe trigeminal neuralgia pain.

Acupuncture can offer several benefits that help alleviate pain. Firstly, acupuncture needles stimulate your muscles, which helps to relax muscles and release built-up tension and knots – often associated with facial pain. Secondly, acupuncture increases blood flow to the affected areas, bringing fresh oxygen and nutrients and reducing pain and inflammation. Thirdly, acupuncture stimulation triggers the release of endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers – which can decrease nerve pain. Plus, you may experience a sense of relaxation, reduced stress, and pain relief.

What to Expect During an Acupuncture Session

During an acupuncture session for tension headaches, you can expect:

  1. Consultation: Your practitioner will ask about your facial pain, overall health, and symptoms to determine the best treatment methods.
  2. Needle Insertion: During the process, your provider will insert thin needles into your body and guide you to maximize your comfort. The needles will be in place for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Additional Therapies: Your provider may use massage (tuina/guasha), heat application (moxibustion), or herbal formulas (poultices/liniments/capsules).
  4. Follow-up: You may need several sessions over a few weeks. Most patients find relief during their first visit, but follow-up treatments can help reduce the frequency of headaches. It takes time to see long-term results. In the research, trigeminal neuralgia study participants felt the most relief after 5 to 6 acupuncture sessions. Typically, we recommend around ten sessions to provide the greatest benefit.

“I owe everything to Dr. Mark! He’s not afraid to take on challenging, complex health cases like mine, and provides well-informed, compassionate healthcare. Dr. Mark has guided me through what I previously thought was insurmountable health challenges, and is determined to work with patients to find solutions. His care has brought me to a place of health that I didn’t think possible. He is an extremely dedicated and masterful provider. Highly recommended!” Check out our Google reviews here.

Three simple steps to relieve your facial pain today

Step 1

Schedule an appointment: Take the first step towards a healthier, pain-free life. Are you worried about the costs? Visit this page to learn more about our affordable treatments.

Step 2

Get a plan: Everyone, including their facial pain, is unique. We develop personalized treatment plans that cater to your specific needs and requirements.

Step 3

Follow the plan: We understand that following a treatment plan can be challenging, but with our expert guidance and support, you can achieve outstanding results.

About the Author

Dr. Mark VanOtterloo is a licensed acupuncturist and Doctor of Oriental Medicine in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He is an integrative, functional medicine practitioner specializing in chronic disease and women’s health. He uses acupuncture, tuina (medical massage), moxibustion, and herbal linents to help patients with severe facial pain. To learn more about how acupuncture helps with Trigeminal Neuralgia pain, schedule now for an appointment or to schedule a free discovery call.

Important Acupuncture Research References for Trigeminal Neuralgia Pain

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.

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