Why Does My Face Hurt? Trigeminal Neuralgia, Face Pain and TMJ
The link between the upper neck and face pain or numbness, or what's called Trigeminal Neuralgia or Tic Doulereaux has been studied for many years. Face pain can be excruciating based on patient reports. This is one of the most common reasons why depression and suicide are common with this debilitating condition.
When a person suffers a head or neck injury such as a car accident or fall, the process can begin. But even a long standing compression on the upper neck such as oral surgery or extensive dental work can be the initiating factor. Frequently the trauma may have happened months, years or even decades earlier! The body's ability to adapt is phenomenal. But the adaptation process only lasts so long and eventually symptoms will develop. The symptoms that develop are unique to the individual.
Research is very encouraging to face pain patients. In one study Dr. Hinson was studying the effects of upper cervical specific chiropractic care on 10 patients diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia. After only 10 weeks pain measurements decreased by 77%! Dr. Hinson also found that depression scores had decreased and all patients had seen their pain distribution decrease. Of the 10 patients in the study 3 of the 10 had no more attacks by the end of the 10 weeks and the other 7 had much less.
In my own office I have seen great changes with Face Pain as well. One patient who had suffered with excruciating pain following a dental procedure along the right side of her face head and neck found help through the NUCCA procedure, after trying Acupuncture, medications, general chiropractic manipulation and many other treatments. We saw a 90% reduction in all symptoms in 8 weeks.
Another patient who is 6 months pregnant and has had nearly all of her teeth removed on the side of the face pain by 5 different dentists, recently started under care 3 weeks ago and initially found that her symptoms got worse briefly. But once she began to hold her adjustment she began to sleep through the night for the first time in 18 months. Now that she is holding even longer she is going days and without any pain and overall the pain has decreased significantly. With continued care I would expect her progress to continue.
If you know someone who is struggling with face pain or numbness or they have been diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia, then an upper cervical spine evaluation should be performed to see if a head or neck trauma could be the underlying cause.
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