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Acupuncture and Trigeminal Neuralgia

Acupuncture: Treating Trigeminal Neuralgia and Nerve Pain

Severe facial pain disorder in areas where the fifth cranial nerve is supplied is called trigeminal neuralgia. Often the pain is stabbing, paroxysmal, unilateral, and excruciating. Important therapeutic benefits are provided by acupuncture for trigeminal neuralgia and other types of nerve pain in patients, which has been verified in Chinese Hospital’s for over a hundred years. Acupuncture can be used to target the root cause of trigeminal neuralgia and other types of neuropathy: reducing the inflammation and facilitating nerve regeneration.

A Comparison of Pharmaceutical Therapy and Acupuncture

A comparison of the efficaciousness of pharmaceutical therapy with acupuncture was conducted by researchers in a controlled experiment. The result was published by Healthcare Medicine Institute in 2015. An FDA approved anticonvulsant drug known as Carbamazepine which has been used to control seizures in epileptic patients and for mania in bipolar patients has also been used for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. In the Carbamazepine experimental group, a total of 22 out of 40 patients had recovered completely. A total of 30 out of 40 patients recovered fully in the acupuncture experimental group. This study yielded a 70% cure rate for acupuncture and a 55% cure rate for carbamazepine. Using anti-seizure medication can also lead to cognitive disturbance, dizziness, diarrhea, memory loss and bone marrow suppression. The surgery intervention can relive the trigeminal neuralgia pain for some patients, but the recurrent rate is rather high.

Causative Factors of Trigeminal Neuralgia and Nerve Pain

Aging, long-term use of statin medications, multiple sclerosis, or different kinds of neuropathy that damage the myelin sheath protecting nerves are some of the causative factors of trigeminal neuralgia. A tumor that compresses the trigeminal nerve can also cause trigeminal neuralgia. Even a brain lesion or other abnormalities in some people can exhibit as trigeminal neuralgia and nerve pain. Trigeminal neuralgia can also develop as a result of stroke, facial trauma, or surgical injuries. Simple daily activities such as speaking, chewing, smiling, cold or hot fluid intake, physical touch, exposure to cold air, and even brushing your teeth can exacerbate the facial pain.

Acupuncture: As a Traditional Healing Method

Acupuncture is one of the leading conventional therapeutic methods in treating pain. It is a traditional Chinese medical therapy. Acupuncture seeks to maintain and restore balance. This is achieved through precise stimulations of some acupuncture points on the body, which are done utilizing several techniques. The method of penetrating the skin using solid, fine, metallic needles that are maneuvered skillfully by hands or using mild electrical stimulation has been the most common acupuncture technique which has been used and studied most.

Research Showing Efficacy of Acupuncture in Pain Management

A review study published in J. of Pain Research compared several randomized controlled trials from 6 database and concluded that Acupuncture can be used to reduce pain intensity, relieve anxiety and improve patients’ quality of life for postherpetic neuralgia. If acupuncture is combined with meditation, electrical acupuncture and cupping, the effects are even greater.

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6643066/)

Acupuncture can help strengthen the adrenal gland function and reduce the nerve inflammation, but it takes time to achieve the effect. Acupuncturist’s also needs to find out the root cause of the long-lasting pain; statin drugs, spicy food, alcohol, high sugar and strong coffee can inhibit the pain relief for patients who have trigeminal neuralgia and other kinds of nerve pain. If the patient can change their diet and lifestyle and have regular acupuncture treatment for 3 to 6 months, they may be able to stop the medication.

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