(NaturalNews) Research shows that there is hope for people suffering from trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Generally regarded as a condition impossible to completely cure; TN, also known as tic douloureux or the suicide disease, has had a rich, recorded history dating back to the first century A.D. where it was initially described by Aretaeus of Cappodocia. Since then, many have attempted to illustrate the debilitating, painful paroxysms so common to this enigmatic and elusive disease.
The chiropractic-TN connection
The anatomical connections between the various trigeminal nuclei and TN pain clearly indicate that treating the symptoms (i.e. medically analgesizing and treating peripheral nerves via dental extractions, rhizotomies, or other surgical procedures) will not be effective if the lesion is located in brainstem nuclei. The sensory portion of cranial nerve V (aka "trigeminal nerve") is often sectioned immediately inside the cranium, where the motor and sensory roots separate from each other. Thus, the motor portions, which are needed for many jaw movements, can be spared while the sensory elements are destroyed. The procedure leaves the side of the face anesthetic, yet it is not infallible. Sometimes the operation is unsuccessful, indicating that the lesion that causes the pain might be in the sensory nucleus in the brainstem and not in the peripheral nerves.
It is purported; however, that chiropractic adjustments may treat these areas directly. TN paroxysms can actually precipitate from irritation of the trigeminal nerve, trigeminal ganglion, or the spinal nucleus. The late John D. Grostic, DC, after seeing that several of his patients with TN responded well to his care hypothesized, "It may be possible to put traction directly on the sensory nucleus of the trigeminal nerve at the level of the first and second cervical vertebra....Direct mechanical-vascular irritation of the spinal nucleus might also explain those cases in which surgical destruction of the ganglion or sectioning of the nerve fails to provide relief."
Antomisits note that the neuroanatomical basis for cervicogenic headaches is due to a convergence in the trigeminocervical nucleus between the trigeminal nerve and the first three cervical nerves. Thus, any pain produced by structures innervated by these nerves (e.g. atlanto-occipital and lateral atlantoaxial joint, sternocleidomastoid, trapezius and paravertebral muscles) may be perceived as arising from the trigeminal area of the head. Anatomically speaking; therefore, we see a direct connection as to how and why an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment can have profound effects on the trigeminal nerve and, thus, on TN.
Well known since the 1970s, the trigeminal nerve is accompanied by both parasympathetic (rest and digest mode) and sympathetic fibers (fight and flight mode). In a 40 patient study, cervical chiropractic adjustments could manifest a shift in parasympathetic dominance in response to the parasympathetic nervous system. Therefore, it's hypothesized that chiropractors can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and be able to possibly stimulate the trigeminal nerve directly to bring about desirable results.
This is no surprise in the research world. Numerous studies have been published, for example, substantiating chiropractics' efficacy in properly managing and resolving rare and debilitating diseases like cephalgia vertigo, cervicobrachial neuralgia, fibromyalgia, intercostals neuralgia during pregnancy, myofacial pain syndrome, spinal neuralgia, and even increasing the CD4 counts on HIV positive patients.
One of the last drug-less healing arts available in the United States, chiropractic may be the answer for someone battling these types of issues.
Sources for this article include:
• PubMed Health [Internet]. Bethesda; National Institute of Health; [review date 2010 June 6; cited 2011 April 27]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001751/ • Matsuda S, Nagano O, Serizawa T, Higuchi Y, Ono J. Trigeminal nerve dysfunction after gamma knife surgery for trigeminal neuralgia: a detailed analysis. J Neurosurg 2010; 113:184-190. • Stiles A, Evans J. Trigeminal neuralgia and other facial pain. Neurology 2007; 835-843. • AC Guyton, JE Hall. Textbook of medical physiology 11th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier: 2006. p. 605-606. • Grostic JD. Dentate ligament-cord distortion hypothesis. Chiro Research J 1988; 1(1): 47-55. • Erickson K. Upper cervical subluxation complex: a review of the chiropractic and medical literature Baltimore: Lippencott Williams & Wilkins: 2004: p. 64-83, 327-331, 258-259, 262-263. • Bogduk N. The cervica-cranial connection. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1992; 15(1 ): 67-70. • Welch A, Boone R. Sympathetic and parasympathetic responses to specific diversified adjustments to chiropractic vertebral subluxations of the cervical and thoracic spine. J Chiropr Med 2008; 7: 86-93. &bull ;Kranzl B, Kranzl C. The role of the autonomic nervous system in trigeminal neuralgia. J Neural Transm 1976; 38(1): 77-82. • Van Loon M. Intercostal neuralgia during pregnancy and chiropractic care [case report]. J Clin Chiropr Pediatr 2010; 11(2): 780-782. • Lemon JD. Response of cervicobrachial neuralgia to chiropractic care. Chiropr J Aust 2002; 32(3): 78-82. • Sherres B. Chiropractic efficacy progress report: treatment of spinal neuralgia, cephalgia, vertigo and related peripheral conditions. CRJ 1993; 2(3): 17-31. • Selano JL, Hightower BC, Pfleger B, Collins KF, Grostic JD. The effects of specific upper cervical adjustments on the cd4 counts of hiv positive patients. CRJ 1994; 3(1): 32-39. • Schneider M, Vernon H, Ko G, Lawson G, Perera J. Chiropractic management of fibromyalgia syndrome: A systematic review of the literature. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2009; 32(8): 639-647.
About the author: Author, chiropractor, public health researcher and speaker Eric L. Zielinski has devoted his life to natural health and wellness for over a decade. Inspired by the timeless principles in the Bible, he continues to seek out ways to give his patients and clients the tools that they need to achieve the Abundant Life. Follow him on Facebook, visit his website or click here to read Eric's other NaturalNews.com articles.