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Alternative Treatments for Trigeminal Neuralgia

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Trigeminal Neuralgia related image Photo: Getty Images

Alternative treatments for trigeminal neuralgia are similar to those for occipital neuralgia, although there are some differences as the pain of trigeminal neuralgia is in the face rather than the back of the head. Some of these treatments include:

1. Vitamin B12 supplementation. This vitamin helps promote healthy nerve function. This is particularly important if you are vegetarian or vegan as you may have less of the vitamin in your system than you need.

2. Omega 3. Fish oils or flaxseed oil, olive oil or nut oils may help strengthen your nerves and ease inflammation.

3. See a nutritionist or doctor who specializes in treating patients with high amounts of nutritional supplements. Dr. Russell Blaylock is a neurosurgeon who worked with Dr. Peter Janetta during his early research on vascular compression of the cranial nerves as a cause for trigeminal neuralgia. Blaylock was also one of the first neurosurgeons to successfully use high dose nutritional supplementation for head trauma patients.

4. Homeopathy has been known to help some patients, including the author of this article, who has another form, occipital neuralgia. Remedies are tailored to the person’s overall constitution and symptoms rather than to specific conditions so it is better to see a qualified homeopath who will take a medical history, rather than read suggestions for remedies.

5. Acupuncture may help. A study at Tsurumi University School of Dental Medicine found that five out of 10 trigeminal neuralgia patients were restored to a pain-free state, four had a reduction in pain and the remaining one still had severe pain. They concluded: "meridian acupuncture treatment is useful and can be one therapeutic approach in the management of trigeminal neuralgia."

6. St. John’s wort. It is a herb that has been used for hundreds of years to treat depression and nerve pain. If you are on anti-depressants, heart medication, anti-epileptics, anti-coagulants, anti-rejection drugs, HIV medication or the contraceptive pill, it may interact with these and is not suitable for use in these cases. It is not suitable for use in pregnant or breast feeding mothers.

7. According to facial-neuralgia.org, stress can trigger an attack of trigeminal neuralgia so it is important to try and stay calm and reduce stress. Take a relaxing bath, have a massage, go to bed early and try not to have an over-hectic schedule. If you are feeling distressed due to your neuralgia, talk to your friends and family. Sharing how you feel might help to reduce your stress levels.

8. A TENS machine might help, depending on the exact type of neuralgia you have. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is when small amounts of electricity are sent through the skin to block pain signals. They also encourage the production of endorphins, the body’s own natural painkiller. Results are varied; some find the pain relief very effective and others don’t. If you are thinking of using one, ask your doctor where to position the electrodes as putting them in the wrong place can be harmful.

9. Try chiropractic adjustments. According to a case report: "Trigeminal neuralgia, sometimes called tic dolorous, is characterized by episodes of electric shock-like pain in areas of the face where branches of the trigeminal nerve are distributed. Medical treatment includes pharmaceuticals, analgesics, surgery, radiosurgery, low-powered laser, TENS, acupuncture and biofeedback. Manipulative approaches have been used successfully in a medical center in China, and reports of successful treatment with chiropractic techniques have been published." The report went on to say that the patient had a history of right-sided facial pain, diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia, over a 6-year period with remissions after dental or medical treatment and exacerbations, the most recent lasting two months. Prior to cranial and other chiropractic adjustments, the patient had continuous pain that she rated at 9.5 on the visual analogue scale, and after four consultations over an 11-day period, pain had reduced to 0.5. The authors concluded that "Spinal and cranial adjusting potentially affects a wide range of causes of trigeminal neuralgia and offers a conservative, low-cost, low technology initial approach which, if ineffective, will not greatly delay or inhibit other treatment. Occasional maintenance care may be required in some instances to reduce recurrences."

10. If you have had surgical decompression, further attacks of trigeminal neuralgia may occur due to scar tissue. Osteopathic manipulation has been shown to correct this problem. It could also help if you haven’t had surgery.

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Medicine, April 6, 2001 edition.
Chiropr J Aust Mar 2005; 35(1): 9-15 - http://chiropractors.asn.au/Content/NavigationMenu/Publications/CJA/CJA_Back_Issues/Volume35/Vol35Issue1/default.htm
National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine - http://nccam.nih.gov/health/stjohnswort/ataglance.htm#uses
Anesth Pain Control Dent. 1992 Spring;1(2):103-8 - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1392684

Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting, in addition to running a charity for people damaged by vaccines or medical mistakes.

Add a Comment5 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Kyolic Garlic along with a high quality Fish Oil and Organic India Turmeric as well as Cresceo Brain Supplement seems, so far, to be helping my occipital neuralgia.
Oh yes, a good B-Complex and extra B-12, too.
Keeping my fingers crossed.

April 3, 2016 - 7:49pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for the great article. I have been using a combination of natural remedies for my Trigeminal and they have helped when all else failed. I use Cronisol, Niargim and Tneuralgese and it is working great. I have been pain free for 6 months now.

June 24, 2015 - 5:08am
EmpowHER Guest

One must use a combination of ayurvedic herbs and advance homeopathic remedies along with the above mentioned nutritional supplements. This will give excellent results. Herbal remedies address the root cause of the condition. These remedies will decrease the sensitivity of the nerves so that it stops reacting to slightest stimulus. It will also improve the functioning of nerves and give you relief from tingling, numbness and agonizing pain. Some of the remedies used with wonderful results are Trigeminal Neuralgia CM, OMG magnesium and Myelin sheath sarcode.

April 15, 2013 - 4:37am

I hope TENS and acupuncture help you.

I am having acupuncture and a nerve block (injections of anasethetic into the back of my head) for the occipital version of neuralgia.

Stay strong, I'm thinking of you.


May 5, 2011 - 2:02pm

i have trigeminal massages done and this takes the pressure/stress/tension of my facial and neck muscles which lessens the pain. i take supplements as well including valerian which has helped me to sleep better and"relax" i read that if you can relax the nerves have a chance of "healing". i have ATN after a dental procedure and i refuse to take the medications as i have seen what it can do to people first hand. ther have been days of OMG but i persist. TENS and acupuncture maybe another step for me. Thanks

April 6, 2011 - 11:24pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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