Trigeminal Neuralgia is an incredibly intense form of facial pain that can strike otherwise healthy people down in the blink of an eye - clutching their face in an effort to relieve the waves of pain. It occurs when there is irritation of the Trigeminal Nerve. The pain is often so relentless, and over periods of time can lead to depression and loss of function.
The pain is intense and can range from sharp shooting pain to a severe toothache type sensations that are spasmodic in nature and can affect the scalp, ear, eye and jaw lasting over days , months or even years in some cases. The pain usually affects only one side of the face. The pain can be debilitating and many people... at wits end... present to their GP and accept pharmacological treatment in the form of Lyrica, Gabapentin, Carbamazepine etc. These medications can somewhat dull the pain with the potential side effects of drowsiness, lethargy, nausea, however unless the underlying cause for the pain is addressed, this neurological painkiller solution can become long term.
Here in the clinic, Trigeminal Neuralgia cases are not uncommon. Bowen Therapy has ALOT to offer and more than ever before, sufferers of Trigeminal Neuralgia are clueing on to the immense pain relief that can occur quickly immediately following each Bowen Therapy session.
From a bodywork perspective, rather than just quietening the pain signals with medications, we like to look at the structural reasons why the pain is occurring in the first place, so we aim to address the root cause.
The Trigeminal nerve is the 5th Cranial Nerve. This nerve has 3 branches that send and receive sensory input from various areas of the head - the side of the scalp, the ear and jaw. These areas can all be affected by trigeminal neuralgia and depending on the area of nerve irritation sometimes all 3 areas fire off.
Irritation occurs when an area of soft tissue (fascia, muscle) or even the TMJ (jaw) joint itself is in a state of tension. These tensegrity forces place undue pressure on the trigeminal nerve and the nerve fulfils its function which is to let the brain know that something is wrong and it needs attention! Isn't the human body an incredible thing?
Enter Bowen Therapy to the rescue. A Bowen session will help firstly put the body into a parasympathetic (think relaxed and calm) state. In this state, the nervous system responds so well to the gentle input to follow. Next the treatment involves gentle movement of the soft tissue around your neck, jaw and temple etc in order to help the body recognise and reset the resting tension in these areas - we use precisely positioned and angled moves to produce these responses. The responses are created by the body within minutes and the pain relief can be instant.
Generally 3 treatments are recommended to ensure the resulting pain relief is long lasting. If the problem is recurrent, then visiting a Bowen Therapist with advanced jaw and cranial knowledge may be required.
So if you've been struggling with this condition, please know that you don't have to suffer!
Find your local Bowen Therapist and enjoy starting olive again.