Thursday, July 19, 2012

Upper Cervical Care and The Suicide Disease

The Problem of Trigeminal Neuralgia and Other Chronic Pains

by Dr. Ward

Popular web resources on the facial pain Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) only have drugs, injections, and surgeries as possible treatments. But they’re missing a potential important ingredient to resolving TN symptoms: upper cervical chiropractic care.

Trigeminal Neuralgia is the #1 cause of facial pain, with 4 to 5 persons per 100,000 having the disease. Some authorities say that more might be suffering, but aren’t counted because of misdiagnosis.

According to the National Pain Foundation, 1.7 millions have been diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia. TN’s reputation as one of the most severe body pains makes that 1.7 million too many. In many cases TN grows to be a debilitating and chronic pain that threatens the livelihood of the one who suffers with it.

In the past TN has been called Tic douloureux, and also the suicide disease, because the suffering it causes some patients drove them to take their life. Modern medicine has improved pain management through drugs and surgical procedures, and takes credit for reducing TN’s deadly reputation.

Yet, medicines don’t always work, and the idea of a cranial surgery can be too expensive, or downright scary for many. Some choose to seek help from alternative treatments. Indeed, popular web sources like list some of those therapies, like acupuncture, biofeedback, and vitamin therapy.

Still, there is one glaring omission of what might help TN. Upper cervical care.

There are several theories on what causes, or possibly exacerbates the symptoms of facial nerve pain. The most popular is a mechanical explanation: there is pressure on the facial nerve, inside the skull, most likely cause by a blood vessel. Pain then occurs with little or no warning, often just with moving the head, eating, or touching the face.

It’s thought that the pressure actually occurs at the base of the brain stem, where the roots of the facial nerve are.

What’s interesting about the facial nerve is that it’s not just found at the brain stem. There are actually cell extensions of the facial nerve which descend down into the spinal cord to the level of our second cervical vertebra. So, reach back to just about the back of your hair line, at the back of your neck. You have cells hooked up to the trigeminal nerve which are nestled less than a few inches away from your finger.

If there was a doctor who could do a surgery and take away small amounts of pressure at the top of the spinal cord, in between the second vertebra and the bottom of the head, do you think it might relieve the pressure on the facial nerve?

Now what if that doctor wasn’t doing surgery, but was gently improving the balance between the head and neck? Balance that affects nerve pressure and blood flow into the brain stem. Would you think that might relieve pressure on the facial nerve?

And what if I told you that non-surgical doctor was a chiropractor, practicing upper cervical chiropractic?

Upper cervical chiropractic worked for one TN patient of an upper cervical doctor in St. Louis. And it did for James Tomasi, who you can read about here, or listen to his story in the recording above. I have personally  seen improvement in facial pain in 3 different patients in the last 45 days.

So, why haven’t you heard about this before? Good question. Here’s one answer: when you search the current National Institute of Heath’s clinical trials, there are only 3 TN studies. And not one of them is examining Trigeminal Neuralgia and upper cervical care. There is very little funding for upper cervical research period, let alone research into a non-back-pain related condition.

Here’s a second answer:  Mayo and other authorities are  comfortable reporting on the potential of acupuncture, vitamins, and biofeedback, because it’s not upper cervical care. You simply haven’t heard about Trigeminal Neuralgia and upper cervical care because of bias.

And it’s not just limited to facial pain, but other chronic pains as well. Thankfully patient advocacy groups like the Facial Pain Association are willing to tell others about facial pain and upper cervical chiropractic.

(Editor's note: Remember the objective of upper cervical care is to correct head neck misalignment that is interfering with proper brain to body communication. When this is corrected the body functions at a higher level and can often correct other problems more efficiently on its own. Please do not confuse upper cervical care as a treatment for tinnitus or any other condition, disease or symptom.)


  1. Replies
    1. But what about vitamin therapy does it work?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I am not an expert on vitamin therapy nor have I ever spoke to anyone who has used it for this condition so I can not comment on its effectiveness.


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