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Trigeminal Neuralgia sufferers and the chiropractic adjustment

Posted in Head Pain Disorders on Mar 15, 2020

Trigeminal Neuralgia sufferers and the chiropractic adjustment

Are you looking for an upper cervical chiropractor in Brisbane to help with your Trigeminal Neuralgia?

If you or a loved one is suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia, you’re likely looking for anything that could help.

 

  • For many people with Trigeminal Neuralgia, they do not want to be on medication for the rest of their lives.
  • For many other people with Trigeminal Neuralgia, the medication just isn’t working all!
  • For other people, Trigeminal Neuralgia is more of a mystery because their MRIs and other tests aren’t showing the reason for their pain, and so the idea of surgery isn’t even an option!

 

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If you are still looking for answers - and a solution! - then you have likely come across the role of the upper neck in Trigeminal Neuralgia, and discovered something you’ve never heard about before called an “Upper cervical chiropractor.”

In this article, I want to share with you what an upper cervical chiropractor is and how an upper cervical specific adjustment may be able to help you find the relief you are looking for from Trigeminal Neuralgia. 

 

So … what is an upper cervical chiropractor anyway?

Upper cervical chiropractic is a special division of chiropractic developed and researched in the USA. Here is Australia, it is still relatively unknown with only 0.2-0.4% of all chiropractors in Australia using it

(So if you haven’t heard of it before until you found it on a Trigeminal Neuralgia forum from people in the USA, I’m not surprised!)

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Upper cervical chiropractic is based on the premise that your body is a self-healing organism. Therefore, if you are suffering pain or other health problems such as Trigeminal neuralgia, it is because something is interfering with your body’s normal ability to heal itself. 

Upper cervical chiropractic is also based on the principle that your brain and nerve system is the master control system that controls and coordinates all of your body functions. Specifically, it is your brainstem which is located at the base of your skull at the top of your neck at the level of your C1 and C2 vertebrae (also called your axis and axis) that is the master control center for that master control system. 

Upper cervical chiropractors therefor believe that certain injuries that affect the alignment and movement of the atlas and axis can interfere with the normal function of your brainstem and lead to a variety of health problems. 

Of specific note here is Trigeminal Neuralgia because the nerve centers that process the pain and sensory information from your Trigeminal Nerve are located in your brainstem and actually descend down to the level of C3 in your neck!

Therefore, by addressing misalignments of these vertebrae at the top of your spine, an upper cervical chiropractor is working to reduce tension and pressure that could be affecting your brainstem and nerves, and thus may be able to help you if you are experiencing Trigeminal neuralgia.

 

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What is an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment for  Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Upper cervical chiropractic is NOT spinal manipulation.

According to the Australian chiropractic regulations, spinal manipulation is If you take a joint to its end range of motion, and then apply a high-velocity, low amplitude (HVLA) thrust that stretches the joint ever so slightly beyond its normal range of movement. In order to achieve this type of action, it is often necessary to stretch the neck to a point of “tension,” which is achieved by twisting or pulling the neck sideways before giving the thrust.

The sudden thrust is often accompanied by a “cracking noise,” which occurs due to fluid motion inside of the joint capsule.

For many reasons, many people don’t like the idea of getting their neck twisted or cracked. 

 

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  • Maybe they’ve heard about someone who has had a bad experience
  • Maybe they have personally had a bad experience

 

Whatever the reason, ALL chiropractors often get lumped into this category and labeled as nothing more than cowboy “bone crackers.”

 

THAT IS NOT IN ANY WAY WHAT UPPER CERVICAL CHIROPRACTIC IS.

Foremost, an upper cervical chiropractor performs a series of tests including neurological testing and specific 3D x-rays, which allow us to see the exact direction and degree of misalignment in your neck. The difference is that when we know that level of detail, we do not need to use spinal manipulation in order to correct the misalignment!

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The Blair upper cervical technique that we use in our Brisbane health center is performed with your head in a neutral position where you are able to lie comfortably on your side. In other words, we aren’t pulling or twisting your neck as part of the setup. Being able to relax is actually very easy.

We then measure and align ourselves to the exact degree that your atlas or axis have misaligned, and then the adjustment that we deliver is a very quick (30 milliseconds!) and very light (12 pounds) impulse. This amount of “pressure” is equivalent to the amount of force you would use to feel your pulse. It is that light.

We also use a specialized table that produces a vibration, which may also help the realignment. Because all of this happens with your head in a neutral position, we aren’t looking to stretch any of the ligaments in your neck, but instead are delivering the adjustment WITHIN your normal range of movement. Therefore, there is never a click or a cracking noise with a Blair upper cervical adjustment

 

Can an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment make Trigeminal Neuralgia worse?

One of the biggest fears that many people have with any treatment is that it could cause their Trigeminal Neuralgia pain to get worse.

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Although there is an inherent risk in everything - even doing nothing! - the risk of making Trigeminal Neuralgia worse from an upper cervical specific adjustment is exceptionally low.

The reason is the type of tests that an upper cervical chiropractic doctor performs before making an adjustment. We aren’t simply taking x-ray images from standard angles. Everyone’s bone structure is different.

  • Different shapes
  • Different angles
  • Different misalignments
  • Different directions
  • Different combinations

 

For this reason, an upper cervical chiropractic doctor does not just do any haphazard procedure and hope for the best. An upper cervical chiropractic doctor instead makes a precise correction that is specifically designed for your individual condition and not just based on your symptoms.

With this level of detail, the adjustment does not need to twist or crack anything into place and needs only use the amount of force that you would use to feel your pulse. 

In this way, the adjustment is exceptionally light, and therefore a low risk of making Trigeminal Neuralgia worse.

Is it still possible for an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment to aggravate Trigeminal Neuralgia despite our best intentions? Researchers suggest that the risk is approximately 5%, but also that is it usually only a temporary aggravation and does not cause permanent damage.

And although aggravations are never desirable, what they do is confirm that your neck is involved with your Trigeminal Neuralgia … If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t make things worse at all! It’s therefore then a matter of reconsidering things to get the best chance for a favorable outcome.

 

 

Trigeminal Neuralgia and Upper cervical chiropractor Brisbane

Many people with Trigeminal neuralgia don’t learn about upper cervical care until they have already been to an ENT, neurologist or another trigeminal neuralgia specialist. The reasons vary, but often revolve around medication concerns:

 

  • That they don’t want to be on drugs for the rest of their life just to treat the symptoms
  • That the drugs aren’t working much anyway
  • That they want to know the underlying cause of their Trigeminal neuralgia.

 

When your brain MRIs all appear normal, it can be extraordinarily frustrating getting answers to the cause of your Trigeminal neuralgia. I therefore hope that this article has offered you additional information and hope in the possibility that your Trigeminal neuralgia can also be helped with a different type of approach from what your trigeminal neuralgia specialists have recommended so far.

To find out more information so that you can desire if Blair upper cervical care may be right for you, we would like to invite you for a complimentary 15-minute over the phone consultation with our chiropractic doctor at Atlas Health in Brisbane.

Dr. Jeffrey Hannah is an advanced certified member of the Blair chiropractic society. With over 13 years of experience in the field of upper cervical chiropractic care, he has seen many clients with Trigeminal neuralgia plus many other health conditions. He is an international lecturer, author, and previous recipient of the Blair Chiropractor of the Year award. At the time of this writing, he is one of only 5 chiropractic doctors in all Australia practicing the Blair technique.

So if you have any questions or would like to discuss the details of your particular case, we would be happy to schedule a complimentary 15-minute assessment. 

To schedule, you can click the Contact Us link on this page, or call us direct at 07 3188 9329.

We appreciate how difficult the road can be if you have been dealing with Trigeminal neuralgia. In spite of it all, we still bevel very much in the power of the human body to heal itself given the opportunity. We believe in hope, and if there is anything we are able to offer, it is our sincere promise that we will do our best to help you too.

Atlas Health Australia - “A passion for helping people reach their full life potential.”

 

References

Trigeminal Neuralgia Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke. 31 Dec 2019. Accessed 30 Jan 2020. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Trigeminal-Neuralgia-Fact-Sheet

Trigeminal Neuralgia Association of Australia. Accessed 30 Jan 2020. https://www.tnaaustralia.org.au/ 

Cruccu G. Trigeminal Neuralgia. Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2017 Apr;23(2, Selected Topics in Outpatient Neurology):396-420. doi: 10.1212/CON.0000000000000451. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28375911

Cruccu G, Finnerup NB, Jensen TS, et al. Trigeminal neuralgia: New classification and diagnostic grading for practice and research. Neurology. 2016 Jul 12;87(2):220-8. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002840. Epub 2016 Jun 15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27306631 

Grgić V. [Influence of manual therapy of cervical spine on typical trigeminal neuralgia: a case report]. [Article in Croatian] Lijec Vjesn. 2010 Jan-Feb;132(1-2):21-4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359155

Piovesan EJ, Kowacs PA, Oshinsky ML. Convergence of cervical and trigeminal sensory afferents. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2003 Oct;7(5):377-83. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12946291

Vadokas V, Lotzmann KU. [Craniomandibular disorders and cervical spine syndrome as differential diagnoses in suspected idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia.]. [Article in German] Schmerz. 1995 Jan;9(1):29-33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18415496 

Velásquez C, Tambirajoo K, Franceschini P, et al. Upper Cervical Spinal Cord Stimulation as an Alternative Treatment in Trigeminal Neuropathy. World Neurosurg. 2018 Jun;114:e641-e646. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.03.044. Epub 2018 Mar 14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29548953

Burcon M. Resolution of trigeminal neuralgia following chiropractic care to reduce cervical spine vertebral subluxations: a case study. J Vert Sublux Res 2009:1-7

Flory T, Chung J, Ozner J. Resolution of Facial Neuralgia Following Reduction of Atlas Subluxation Complex: A Case Study. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res 2015:6-13

Grochowski J. Resolution of trigeminal neuralgia following upper cervical chiropractic care: a case study. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res 2013:20-24

Rodine RJ, Aker P. Trigeminal neuralgia and chiropractic care: a case report. J Can Chiropr Assoc 2010;54(3):177–186

Zielinski E, Acanfora M. Resolution of trigeminal neuralgia following subluxation-based chiropractic care: A case study & review of the literature. A Vert Sublux Res 2013:33-45

Eriksen K, Rochester BP, Hurwitz EL. Symptomatic Reactions, Clinical Outcomes and Patient Satisfaction Associated with Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care: A Prospective, Multicenter, Cohort Study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2011, 12:219 doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-219. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1471-2474-12-219

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