What is the Trigeminal nerve and what are its functions?
The trigeminal nerve is the largest of all 12 Cranial nerves. It is also known as ‘Cranial Nerve V’ (as cranial nerves are written in roman numbers and the Trigeminal Nerve is the fifth Cranial nerve). It is always found in pairs. Its main function is to carry sensory information from various facial areas to the brain, but its mandibular branch carries sensory and motor information. The trigeminal nerve is the only cranial nerve that carries sensory and motor information. Being the largest, it covers a large area of the face and is divided into three main branches viz.
- Ophthalmic: It conveys sensory information from the Scalp, Forehead, Sinuses, Upper Eyelids, Cornea, and Bridge of the Nose to the Brain.
- Maxillary: It transmits sensory information from the Lower Eyelids, Middle part of the Sinuses, Nasal cavity, Middle part of the Nose, cheeks, Upper Lip, Maxillary teeth, and Palate (roof of the mouth).
- Mandibular: Unlike the other two branches, this nerve transmits Sensory and Motor signals. It carries sensory signals from the Lower Lip, Chin, Lower part of the mouth, Teeth of the Lower Jaw, front and middle parts of the Tongue, and outer part of the Ears. It also involves motor functions that help in chewing and swallowing.
What is trigeminal neuralgia?
Trigeminal Neuralgia, also known as Tic Douloureux is frequent and recurrent brief pain bouts on a single side of the face. It is a chronic condition and the intensity, as well as the frequency of the pain bouts, may increase with time. Initially, you may experience painful sensations similar to stabbing/ lancination/ electric shock on one side of the face. Gradually the attacks of pain are brought on by activities that involve lightly touching the face, such as washing, eating, brushing the teeth, and putting make on; but the pain can also be triggered by wind – even a slight breeze or air conditioning – or movement of the face or head. Sometimes the pain can happen without a trigger. Initially, it starts with short and mild episodes of pain that become longer and more frequent bouts of searing pain.
What are the types of Trigeminal Neuralgia?
There are three main types of Trigeminal Neuralgia:
- Classical: This is brought on by pressure on the trigeminal nerve due to the associated artery or vein.
- Secondary: This is brought on as a secondary symptom to another medical condition.
- Idiopathic: This term is used when the exact cause of the onset of pain is unknown.
What are the causes?
Classical Trigeminal Neuralgia is caused by pressure on the trigeminal nerve at the point where it enters the brain stem (the lowest part of the brain that merges with the spinal cord). In most cases, the pressure is caused by an artery or vein compressing the trigeminal nerve. It’s not clear why this pressure can cause painful attacks in some people but not others, as not everyone with a compressed trigeminal nerve will experience pain. The proposed theory is that; Over time, the pulse of the blood vessel rubbing against the nerve can wear away the insulation (the protective outer layer), which is called the myelin sheath, leaving the nerve exposed and highly sensitive and the patient feels pain bouts.
Secondary Trigeminal Neuralgia develops as a result of some underlying medical condition such as facial injury/damage caused by facial or dental surgery/ multiple sclerosis/ tumor or cyst/malformation of blood vessels (an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins). These medical conditions cause mechanical pressure over the trigeminal nerve and damage it by constant rubbing.
The cause of Idiopathic Trigeminal Neuralgia is unknown.
Who can be affected by it?
- Usually, people who fall in the age group 50- 60 years are more prone to Trigeminal Neuralgia. Its occurrence in adults less than 40 years is very rare.
- It usually affects women more often than men.
- In India, the occurrence is less than 1 Million cases per year.
- It is also reported that patients with hypertension have a slightly higher incidence of Trigeminal Neuralgia compared to the general population.
What are the symptoms?
- The main symptom is a sudden episode of sharp, shooting, electric shock-like pain on a single side of the face that lasts from a few seconds to several minutes.
- The pain appears in areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve, including the cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, lips, or less often the eye and forehead.
- The pain is often described as excruciating, like an electric shock. The attacks can be so severe that you’re unable to do anything while you are in pain.
- Pain affects one side of the face at a time.
- The rare occurrence of pain during sleep at night.
- Bouts of multiple attacks lasting days, weeks, months, or longer — some people have periods when they experience no pain.
- Attacks become more frequent and intense over a period of time.
How does homeopathy help?
The homeopathic system of medicine provides an integrated approach to disease conditions, where the focus of treatment is not alone the primary pathology, but also the general well-being of the patient.
The ultra-diluted and potentized homeopathic micro medicines serve as nanomedicines that possess quantum-like properties with increased catalytic activity and adsorptive capacity. These medicines work precisely similarly to an enzyme key system and create the desired harmless effect on the targeted organs only. This makes the Homeopathic treatment safe and effective and so is considered a safer, effective, and non-toxic treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia.
Homeopathic medicine Hypericum comprehends neurotransmitter inhibitory profile and potential anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects suggesting a role for pain management in cases of Trigeminal Neuralgia.
Homeopathic therapy provides an integrated outlook for the pathology, wherein, the patient is treated as a whole considering his past and present illnesses, of not only the physical level but also the mental-emotional level. There are homeopathic studies conducted under neurological pathologies which have further proved its efficacy in conditions such as Trigeminal Neuralgia.
A few Homeopathic medicines worth mentioning here are:
- Gelsemium: facial neuralgia with an intoxicated look on the face and quivering of the chin.
- Spigelia: neuralgia involving the left side of the face, mainly the left eye, left cheek, and left temporal region.
- Kalmia: right-sided facial neuralgia
- Zinc Valeriana: Facial neuralgia- violent in left temple and inferior maxillary part of the face.
- Mezereum: Indicated especially in neuralgia of teeth and face with increased sensitivity to cold air.
There are many medicines in homeopathy if given in exact dose and potency after matching the totality of symptoms of the patient with that of the medicine, ease the suffering of the patient, so one should seek an expert’s opinion before starting the homeopathic treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia.
Why Cosmic Homeo Healing Centre?
Cosmic Homeo Healing is run by second generation Homeopath Dr. Mahavrat Patel having vast clinical records of more than 75 years and clinical experience of nearly 50 years in the treatment of various cases of Trigeminal Neuralgia. Under the able guidance of Dr. Mahavrat Patel, our team of experts has been successfully treating thousands of cases of Trigeminal Neuralgia for many years.