From the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research, comes a story on February 21, 2013, documenting the resolution of a case of trigeminal neuralgia with chiropractic care.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines this condition by stating, “Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal or 5th cranial nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head. The disorder causes extreme, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like face pain that lasts anywhere from a few seconds to as long as 2 minutes per episode. These attacks can occur in quick succession. The intensity of pain can be physically and mentally incapacitating.”
The authors of the study report that this condition is more common in females and usually occurs between the ages of 50 and 70 years. The incidence of TN is 4.3 per 100,000 people.
In this case a 58 year old woman went to a chiropractor for the first time. She was suffering from intense stabbing pain above her right eye. The authors recorded that at night the woman was, “hesitant to lift her head off the pillow for fear of inducing the facial pain.” She was initially referred to a neurologist who diagnosed her with trigeminal neuralgia and she was prescribed medication. After 6 months, the medication she was taking with limited results, seemed to no longer be effective. Since she was not a proponent of medication, she then sought out a more natural approach.
A chiropractic examination and x-rays were taken and a subluxation in the upper cervical (neck) spine was noted. Specific chiropractic care was then initiated for correction of the subluxation. The results of the care showed an improvement of the physical findings and of her pain. In a follow up, the patient stated that she had not had any attacks of her trigeminal neuralgia.
In her conclusion, the author noted that there were very few published studies on chiropractic and trigeminal neuralgia. She wrote, “This case does demonstrate promise for the successful implementation of upper cervical chiropractic care in the management of trigeminal neuralgia, however there is certainly a strong need for further research to support this claim.”