Trigeminal Neuralgia Sufferers Find Relief With Upper Cervical Chiropractic
By Dr. Erin L. Elster, D.C.
Many people aren't aware of the relationship between upper cervical (neck) trauma and Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN,) also known as Tic Douloureux. With all that modern science has accomplished, there are still more unanswered questions than answered ones. This is also true in the case of TN research. It's been difficult to pinpoint the exact reason(s) why certain people suffer from TN; however, research is beginning to point toward upper cervical trauma as an underlying cause.
The upper cervical area of the spine refers to the two vertebrae located at the top of the spine, directly underneath the head. C1 (known as Atlas,) along with C2 (known as Axis,) are chiefly responsible for the rotation and flexibility of the head and neck. Like the rest of the vertebrae, they are extremely vulnerable to injury and trauma, especially trauma to the head through auto or sporting accidents.
Because so many nerves transmit through the cervical region (to and from the brain,) trauma to this area results in problems throughout the body. This is where the relationship between the upper cervical area and TN becomes evident. If these vertebrae become displaced, even slightly, impingement of the nerves involved in TN can occur. Unless the neck injury is addressed, TN symptoms persist.
Chiropractic care involves correcting the position of these injured cervical vertebrae, particularly C1 and C2. Realigning these vertebrae may reduce or eliminate TN symptoms.
TN results from impingement of the fifth cranial (trigeminal) nerve, which causes episodes of intense, stabbing, electric shock-like pain in the areas of the face where the branches of the nerve are distributed - lips, eyes, nose, scalp, forehead, upper jaw, and lower jaw. The disorder most often affects one side of the face, but some patients experience pain at different times on both sides. TN is considered to be one of the most painful afflictions known to medical science.
Many cases of TN are successfully treated with upper cervical chiropractic care. The number of treatments required per individual varies according to the severity of the cervical injury and symptoms. A first visit to a chiropractor usually involves a spinal exam and diagnostic tests such as x-rays. From there, the practitioner will determine a care plan. Patients usually notice an improvement in symptoms during the first days or weeks of treatment.
Dr. Erin Elster is an Upper Cervical Chiropractor. For more information about Trigeminal Neuralgia and Upper Cervical Chiropractic care, please contact Dr. Elster in Kahului, Maui, Hawaii at 808-866-6551 or www.erinelster.com.