Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a painful, chronic and complex neurological disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve – a cranial nerve responsible for controlling the chewing muscles and sensation in the face.

Trigeminal neuralgia is characterised by sudden and extreme facial pain, localised to one or both sides of the face. It is often triggered by everyday activities such as speaking, eating or touching the face.

Forms of Trigeminal Neuralgia

A distinction is made between an idiopathic and a symptomatic form of trigeminal neuralgia. If trigeminal neuralgia occurs without a tangible cause, it is referred to as idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia. If, on the other hand, facial pain develops as a result of pre-existing conditions such as multiple sclerosis, shingles, circulatory disorders, injuries or tumors, it is referred to as symptomatic trigeminal neuralgia.

Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia is often caused by compression of the trigeminal nerve by a neighbouring blood vessel. Other factors that increase compression and thus facial pain include craniomandibular dysfunction (TMJ) and disorders of the cervical spine. The resulting tension can irritate the trigeminal nerve.

Hidden inflammations, such as inflammation of the jaw, can further confuse the immune system and intensify pain stimuli. Such silent inflammation should also be identified and treated.

An interdisciplinary approach in the search for the cause and treatment planning are crucial.

Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Those affected complain of severe pain in the face. The facial pain can feel sharp and electric, like an electric shock, and radiate to distant regions of the face. The pain can be one-sided or affect both sides of the face.

Facial pain can occur spontaneously for no recognisable reason. However, in most cases, the trigger is a touch or a tightening of the eye, chewing or facial muscles.

The pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia can also affect the gums and teeth. Therefore, there is sometimes confusion with toothache or periodontitis.

Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Drug therapies are normally used to relieve pain, which can provide a certain degree of symptomatic relief.
In severe cases, surgery may be considered to reduce the pressure on the nerve.

However, to examine the causes of the trigeminal neuralgia, the effects of TMJ, cervical spine problems and hidden inflammation should be investigated by appropriate therapists or doctors. Moreover, hidden micronutrient deficiencies can also exacerbate symptoms and should be adjusted following individualised laboratory diagnostics.

Dr. med. Karsten Ostermann M.A.

Integrative co-operation between experienced specialists from different disciplines is crucial in order to plan and correctly implement cause-oriented treatment.

Dr. Karsten Ostermann

Further information

The information listed contains relevant topics and serves to improve understanding.