Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), also known as Tic Douloureux (Dol-a-roo), is a condition that causes pain in the major nerve that supplies the head and face, specifically in the regions of the jaw, the cheeks, and the temples.
There are two types of TN. In the first type, a person has no symptoms or pain until they suffer an attack. In the second type, a person may have constant, mild to moderate pain in their head and face, which worsens during an attack. Regardless of the type of TN one has, the attacks, when they come, are severe.
Those suffering have extreme pain or feelings of electric shock through the jaw, face, or forehead, which lasts anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. The intensity of the pain during attacks is mentally and physically disabling and, unfortunately, drives some sufferers to take their own lives. TN may be caused by the wearing away of the protective covering of the Trigeminal Nerve.
This nerve has three branches that supply sensation to the face, and, like any nerve, has a protective cover wrapped around it. Nerves are like electric cords, the inside carries the current, and the plastic outside prevents things from getting shocked. In some diseases, that coating has been worn away, and the nerve is open and exposed. It may also be damaged through surgery or trauma. More commonly, the nerve may be pinched or impeded in some way, so the nerve function is decreased or bottled up until a specific motion, vibration, or touch overstimulates the nerve and causes an attack.
At Atlas, we address the more common cause of TN: the nerve being compressed, pinched, or trapped in the upper spine. After the Trigeminal Nerve leaves the brain, it detours into the spine to form what’s known as a ‘ganglia’ (a place where nerves come together and branch back out). The nerve then leaves the spine and travels up to the face, separating into three parts. The top part supplies nerves to your temples and forehead, the middle part supplies nerves to the side of the face and cheeks, and the lower part supplies nerves to the jawline. If the atlas (the top bone of the spine) is out of position, it can put pressure on the nerve bundle and cause TN symptoms to occur. Through the Atlas consultation and exam procedures, we will see if your atlas is out of position and if that might have a part in causing or increasing your TN symptoms.
If we suspect it does, we will perform specific (painless) tests and take specialized digital X-rays. We will then run an analysis through spinal engineering software to determine what we can do to put the atlas where it
needs to be. Once we’ve determined your required correction, a painless Atlas procedure will move the atlas back toward its proper place. This, in turn, may help relieve pressure and tension on the Trigeminal Nerve and decrease or stop your Trigeminal Neuralgia attacks If you or someone you know is suffering with Trigeminal Neuralgia, call Atlas today to schedule a free consultation. The results may be life-changing!