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  • Writer's pictureCat Calhoun

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Pain coming from the trigeminal nerve ( the fifth cranial nerves) is called trigeminal neuralgia. Trigeminal neuralgia is described as a jolt of excruciating pain that can occur in increasingly long periods of time. Even mild stimulation to the face like brushing teeth, chewing, speaking, shaving, applying makeup, or even wind on the face can trigger the pain.

Western medicine says this is disruption of nerve function usually caused by contact between a blood vessel (artery or vein) and the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain. This puts pressure on the nerve and causes the dysfunction. This can occur as body tissues shift during normal aging, or can be related to multiple sclerosis, brain lesions, or stroke.

In Chinese medicine this is generally considered to be a wind damp cold type of Bi syndrome affecting the face.

Acupuncture Treatment

If you could treat this person daily, that would be amazing. . . but it's hard to make that work if you live in a busy western society. That's where herbs come in. Combine herbal formulas with the points below and treat as often as you can get the patient in the door. Push for 2-3 times per week for 4-5 weeks so the patient will get the best results.

Four Needle Point Combination

Another option to consider is combining Ling Gu and Da Bai with Lu 7 and LI 4 (command points for the face and the head. You can also add the Xi Cleft point for the affected channel. If the primary channel affected is Stomach, use St 44. If the primary channel affected is Gallbladder, use Gb 36.

Suggested Herbal Formulas

Herbs will work by themselves, but it will be slower than combining herbs and acupuncture.

  • Option 1: San Cha Fang San Cha Fang has animal products - wu gong, quan xie, and di long - which work faster to break up stagnation and dredge the affected channels. This is a faster formula than the next one.

  • Option 2: Tian Ma Gou Teng Wan + Long Dan Xie Gan Tang Use these in a 1:1 ratio. Again, this is a slower way to go than san cha fang.

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