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Home Remedies for Trigeminal Neuralgia

Home Remedies for Trigeminal Neuralgia

A rare but severe disorder, trigeminal neuralgia results in intense facial pain. Though this condition can only be treated surgically, there are certain home remedies, which can reduce the pain considerably and bring relief to the patient. Let us find out about them through this article.
Sailee Kale
Last Updated: May 5, 2018
Trigeminal neuralgia affects the trigeminal nerve, also referred to as the fifth cranial nerve. This nerve is responsible for transmitting sensations from the face to the brain. People affected by trigeminal neuralgia can experience pain in any part of the face and sometimes, even the ears. Patients report the feeling of debilitating pain intermittently, which can last from few seconds to several minutes. The pain is described to be so acute that even a whiff of air against the face or a very gentle touch can set off painful sensations that feel like a jolt of electricity. Actions like talking, chewing, brushing teeth and shaving can invoke an episode and worsen the condition.

Trigeminal neuralgia is often misdiagnosed as temporomandibular joint disorder because of lingering facial pain. It is crucial to start treatment as soon as the disease is diagnosed. Treatment usually begins with medications. There are certain natural remedies that can work towards easing the pain, though they do not completely do away with the disease. Some such treatments are discussed below in further detail.

Natural Cures for Trigeminal Neuralgia

Herbal Remedies
Certain herbal mixtures when applied to the skin are supposed to soothe the nerve pain.

✔ One such medication is Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang, used in traditional Chinese medicine. This is a mixture of peony and licorice, and when taken orally can provide relief from spasmodic pains.

✔ Capsaicin, the compound that imparts hotness to cayenne peppers and jalapeños, has an analgesic effect. Topical ointments containing capsaicin can be applied to the affected area for respite from constant pain.

✔ Meadowsweet, kava kava, valerian, and passionflower are some herbs, which possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and are said to be effective in treating nerve pain, and can thus, be used in reducing the pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia. Herbal ointments and essential oils of peppermint, evening primrose, and verbena are also used to soothe pain.

✔ Sipping on herbal teas is also said to have a calming effect on frayed nerves. Chamomile, comfrey, St. John's wort, and lemon balm teas can bring relief from painful episodes.

Heat packs and ice packs are known to relax muscles. For some people, placing ice packs over the cheeks and jaws is said to bring instant relief, whereas others find solace in using hot packs. Still, others alternate between cold and hot packs to soothe the aching muscles. Reusable gel packs which can be kept both in the freezer and microwave and used as cold and hot packs can be used.

Soaking or bathing the affected area with hot water to which Epsom salts have been added brings relief from pain, and relaxes tense nerves.

Nutrition and Vitamins
An upcoming approach to treat various diseases and disorders is Medical Nutritional Therapy. Scientifically based, it aims at healing health problems with the use of nutritional diets that are created to meet a patient's needs. In this approach, dietitians work out a nutrition plan based on an individual's requirement, which is aimed at improving the nutritional balance in the body and helps the person manage pain, stress and fatigue associated with disease in a better way. This therapy takes into account various aspects like age, type and progress of disease, family and medical history, lifestyle, medications, etc. Dietitians usually work with doctors to chalk out a diet plan that is best suited to meet the patient's needs.

Along with nutrition, it is essential that your body receives a daily dose of multivitamins, specifically omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B and magnesium. These are required to strengthen the cranial nerves, including the trigeminal nerve, which can prove helpful in managing pain and stress.

This is an alternative therapy that educates a patient about his/her physiological activities like heart rate, and helps him/her to achieve certain control over them. This is done with the help of various physical instruments and electric sensors. These instruments measure the physiological processes and relay or feed back the information received to the patient. This helps the patient make changes to his/her bodily functions, with the main purpose being managing pain and reducing stress. Patients are taught biofeedback techniques which aid in recognizing specific circumstances that can trigger a paroxysm. Once they learn how to identify events that can invoke such a trigger, the next step is to teach them how to handle it. This could mean making minute adjustments to lifestyle, or self-control techniques. This theory is based on the principle that controlling and channeling our thought process can have a profound effect on our physical well-being. Initially, it involves working with doctors and physical therapists, but once the patients learn the treatment techniques, they can practice them at home without anyone's help.

Homeopathy can prove very useful in reducing the paroxysmal and shooting pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia. Depending upon several factors, such as the kind of pain, where it is felt, duration, etc., homeopathic physicians offer different homeopathic treatments. Medications such as Spigelia and Aconite can reduce the intensity of pain felt to a great extent.

The traditional Chinese therapies of acupressure (applying pressure to certain areas of the body to treat a condition) and acupuncture (inserting needles in various parts of the body to relieve symptoms) are considered effective in reducing pain and exhaustion. These are complementary treatment options and it is believed that they increase blood flow to the area and may even speed up damaged nerve repair.

Lifestyle Modifications
Patients should alter the manner of living such that it makes managing pain easier. Identify what activated pain the most, and avoid situations and actions which bring on pain. Try to keep yourself engaged in some activity. Focusing your brain on a certain activity might make the pain easier to bear. As this pain hits the facial nerves, it's vital that you maintain excellent oral hygiene. You do not want neuralgia combined with any sort of dental pain; it can make life hell. Do not eat very hard food, eat soft foods that are very easy to chew.

Build a strong rapport with your doctor/neurosurgeon. Do not hold back any information from him/her. Your doctor is the best person to help you in a medical crisis. If you are taking any prescription medication, continue to do so without fail and do not skip a dose or take an overdose. At all times, keep your doctor's numbers handy. You can also find out from your health care provider about support groups for trigeminal neuralgia in your area. Joining a support group will help you in many ways. You can relate to people who undergo the same suffering as you, in a much better way. You may even come across some very useful medical information from them. If not a support group, establish strong connections with friends and family members, so you have help and can depend on them in times of need.

Trigeminal neuralgia, as many sufferers call it, is also referred to as the Suicide Disease. The pain is excruciating, and the fear of an oncoming attack may interfere with your daily activities. In such cases, it becomes very difficult for patients to follow a normal lifestyle. If the patient is experiencing unbearable pain and not responding well to medications, then doctors consider surgery for trigeminal neuralgia as an alternative. The aforementioned remedies can certainly come in handy and prove effective for pain management. But for maximum effect, they should be used only after consulting a professional, and along with the doctor's prescribed medications. When used in conjunction with medicines, these treatments can go a long way in improving the quality of life.

Disclaimer: The content provided in this article is for informative purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a health care professional. Please seek advice from your doctor with regard to your condition.