Facial Pain, TMJ & Trigeminal Neuralgia

Severe facial pain can turn enjoyable activities like eating or talking into painful episodes. Fortunately, upper cervical spinal care can provide lasting relief to the facial pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. This relief is possible when treatment improves the balance of blood and cerebrospinal fluid.


Your facial pain may be dull and constant. But if you suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, your face may feel like it is burning or searing, or an electric shock is running through it. This condition can be extremely disabling. The pain can last for seconds to minutes, and episodes can extend for days, weeks, or months. Virtually anything that stimulates the affected area can trigger the pain, such as talking, brushing teeth, or feeling a vibration. The pain is so intense that trigeminal neuralgia is commonly referred to as “the suicide disease.” Many sufferers also experience a “brain fog”--a feeling of fullness in the head that they cannot clear.

This condition can strike at any age but most often affects people over 50, especially women. It can also be associated with other disorders such as multiple sclerosis, as well as with migraines and other kinds of headaches.

TMJ is another kind of facial pain, but it is localized along the jaw. If you have TMJ, you may hear a popping or clicking sound when you open your mouth. Chewing or fully opening your mouth may set off intense pain, which typically involves just one side of the jaw but can affect both. You may also notice a change in how your upper and lower teeth fit together.


According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, trigeminal neuralgia is caused by a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve at the point where the nerve exits the base of the skull. Under normal conditions, the vessel rests on the nerve without causing a problem. When blood enters the skull faster than it exits, however, this imbalanced flow can make the vessel pulsate and press on the nerve. This creates friction, which irritates the nerve and ultimately results in trigeminal neuralgia.


A condition called chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) can cause the blood to enter the skull faster than it exits. With CCSVI, veins collapse and slow the exit of blood, while arteries continue to provide blood at the normal rate. This overloads the vessels with blood, causing trigeminal nerve irritation. It also helps explain a feeling of fullness in the head called “brain fog” that some sufferers describe.

Research has shown that alterations of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) into and out of the brain can be caused by a misalignment of the upper neck. These misalignments are most often caused by a previous injury to the head or neck, such as a car accident, sports injury, slip, or fall. Symptoms may not appear until 10 to 15 years later--or longer.

The cause of TMJ is less well understood. We do know, however, that the upper neck and jaw joint are intimately related both neurologically and biomechanically. Therefore, upper neck misalignments can result in nerve irritation, muscle spasms, and abnormal movement patterns in the jaw joint. These conditions can result in TMJ pain.


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Click to enlarge


Upper cervical chiropractic care corrects the spinal misalignments that can disrupt blood and CSF flow. For trigeminal neuralgia sufferers, this care helps protect the trigeminal nerve from the irritation of the pulsating blood vessel. For those who live with TMJ pain, this treatment can provide lasting relief by reducing the upper neck misalignment and improving TMJ-related biomechanics that may have been disrupted by the effects of a past head and neck injury.

Thrive Head & Spinal Care offers this gentle and precise care. It involves no twisting, cracking, or popping of the neck. Instead, we apply math, physics, and engineering principles to determine the correction you need to restore your normal position and function. We use pre- and post-correction tests to ensure that your nervous system function has improved and your body has the best opportunity to heal.

Don’t let severe facial pain disrupt your life or fill it with despair. Let us help ease your suffering. Our mission is to provide the highest quality of upper cervical care with the fewest number of follow-up visits. Dr. Dutson sees every patient as a person, not as a condition. He wants to help you enjoy your life to the fullest and thrive. Schedule your consultation today.


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