Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Do you or a loved one take medications for Trigeminal Neuralgia that only cover up the pain and no long-term relief is provided? There is no need to suffer from this debilitating condition. Laser Med Center has developed a non-invasive infrared energy treatment using an FDA cleared device that targets the source of your pain. Our specifically designed treatment protocol delivers the infrared energy to the painful cranial nerve(s). The treatment protocols provide the best chance for the long lasting relief you are seeking. There are no harmful side effects and the treatments are completely painless. Our medical team will work closely with you from the beginning of your treatments to the end to ensure you have the most efficient and effective treatment plan for your specific condition. Your experience with Laser Med Center will be very rewarding and life changing.
Trigeminal neuralgia treatment has remained the same for many years. After MRI's, referrals, and usually a lot of dental extractions, you see a neurologist. Most neurologists begin with medical management (medications). Some will start with a minimally effective drug in order to keep the side effects down. If the first line drug does not work, most neurologists will move into the anti-convulsion category. These drugs come with many noticeable side effects and in many cases are still not effective in relieving the pain. As these modalities begin to fail, healthcare providers move towards surgical management. While some people have success with surgery, others are left with pain that was worse than before, and of course surgery can have a very long list of complications. While surgical intervention is sometimes necessary, most believe it should be the last option.
While the options above are limited, they used to be the only treatments available. Here is why Laser Med Center is different.
Laser Med Center begins with the proper diagnosis of identifying the condition and ruling out all other symptoms that can be misinterpreted as facial pain or trigeminal nerve pain. A proper protocol is important to determine the targets for treatment within the trigeminal nerve system and to establish a treatment schedule in order to get the maximum effect for reducing the pain in the most efficient way. The therapy is customized to the patient's specific pattern of triggered symptoms.
Laser Med Center treatments have achieved radical results for the patient suffering from trigeminal neuralgia. The central benefits of the therapy are believed to be, but not limited to:
Reducing Inflammation: Reduction in pain associated with any inflammatory condition in the trigeminal nerve ganglion.
Increasing Circulation: Restoring the elasticity and permeability to the cell walls in order to let the circulation of blood flow freely, throughout the vessels.
Channeling of Stem Cells: It is known that energy helps the body stimulate the production of stem cells. Studies show that increasing stem cells stimulates regeneration of neural tissue. The benefit of the stimulation of stem cells in a trigeminal neuralgia sufferer is the regeneration of the myelin sheath around that nerve.
Below you will find a description of treatments and procedures that most healthcare providers utilize to manage trigeminal neuralgia and atypical facial pain. As a sufferer, most likely you have experienced more than one of them. If these treatment options have not been helpful or have lost their effect over the years, let Laser Med Center help you take your life back.
Carbamazepine: A common prescription for trigeminal neuralgia symptoms.
Efficacy: According to Johns Hopkins University Medical Center this drug has been considered effective in treating this condition.
Side Effects: According to those who posted in a blog on askapatient.com we see a lot of the same types of side effects being reiterated. Many of those were (but not limited to) extreme blurred vision, extreme loss of coordination, extreme dizziness, drowsiness, severe memory loss, lethargic, joint pain, feeling like a 'zombie', unsteadiness, nausea, vomiting, headache, anxiety, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, dry mouth, and back pain. In addition, some people have also experienced confusion, loss of contact with reality, chest pain, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Other Prescribed Medications
Mayo Clinic also cites other antispasmodic agents. Muscle-relaxing agents such as baclofen may be used alone or in combination with carbamazepine or phenytoin. Side effects may include confusion, nausea, drowsiness, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue agitation, chills, inability to urinate, loss of muscle tone, seizures, mental or mood changes, numbness or tingling of the hands or feet, red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin, severe or persistent dizziness or drowsiness, slurred speech, stomach pain, swollen lymph nodes, swollen or tender gums, tremor, unusual bruising or bleeding, unusual eye movements, unusual muscle movements, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Lyrica® (pregablin) is also commonly prescribed as a trigeminal neuralgia treatment.
Side Effects: Including, but not limited to, swelling of the face, mouth, lips, gums, tongue, or neck, trouble breathing, rashes, hives (raised bumps) or blisters. It also has been known to cause suicidal thoughts or actions.
Alcohol Injection: Alcohol injections can also be used to provide temporary pain relief by numbing the affected areas of the face. The doctor will inject alcohol into the part of the face corresponding to the trigeminal nerve branch causing pain. The pain relief is temporary, so repeated injections or a different procedure may be necessary in the future.
Side Effects: Including, but not limited to, infections at the injection site, bleeding and permanent damage to nearby nerves resulting in temporary or permanent paralysis.
Gamma-Knife Radiosurgery (GKR): Gamma Knife Radiosurgery delivers a focused, high-dose radiation to the root of the trigeminal nerve.
Efficacy: According to Mayo Clinic, relief occurs gradually and can take several weeks to begin. GKR is successful in eliminating pain for many people. There are currently no statistical numbers associated with the long-term benefits of GKR as a trigeminal neuralgia treatment.
Side Effects: Including, but not limited to, lasting loss of facial sensation, temporary or permanent nerve damage. The doctors at Johns Hopkins believe it is probable the nerve will re-grow and require additional procedures.
Microvascular Decompression (MVD): MVD involves relocating or removing blood vessels that are in contact with the trigeminal root. The doctor makes an incision behind the ear on the side with pain. Then, through a small hole in the skull, part of the brain is lifted to expose the trigeminal nerve, which is separated from the blood vessels.
Efficacy: MVD may successfully reduce or eliminate pain. According to UCLA Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery, MVD brings some relief to 75-80 percent of patients. Recurrence may require additional procedures.
Side Effects: Mayo Clinic concludes that the risk associated with MVD includes a chance of decreased hearing, facial weakness, facial numbness, double vision, stroke or even death.
Rhizotomy (severing the nerve): Trigeminal rhizotomy involves cutting the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain. Through an incision behind the ear, the doctor makes a quarter-sized hole in the skull to access the nerve.
Efficacy: There is not much statistical data related to the long-term efficacy of this procedure. Appropriate pain medications are prescribed and the patients are gradually weaned off their anti-spasmodic medications.
Side Effects: Including but not limited to, bleeding, infection, nausea/vomiting, permanent nerve damage or facial paralysis, anesthetic complications or recurrent pain (when the nerve grows back – usually within one to six years). Other complications include stroke or even death.
Glycerol Injection: The doctor inserts a needle through the face and into an opening in the base of the skull. The needle is guided into the trigeminal cistern. The trigeminal cistern is a small sac of spinal fluid that surrounds the trigeminal nerve ganglion at the center of the base of the brain - where the trigeminal nerve divides into three branches and the root.
Efficacy: Initially, this procedure relieves pain in many people. However, some people have a later recurrence of pain. UCLA research tells us that 80 percent of patients treated with glycerol initially experience short term relief, but more than half of these experience a return of the pain within one to five years after treatment.
Side Effects: Including but not limited to, a small degree of numbness in the area of the pain remains after the procedure. Other complications include bleeding or infection in the brain, which may lead to stroke or even death.
Alternative Forms of Treatment
Acupuncture treatment has varying results and has been found to have some short-term pain relief and long-term benefit.
Electrical Stimulation of Nerves (Peripheral Nerve Stimulation)
The electrical stimulation of a peripheral nerve is used to either induce activation or modulation of the activity of the nerve. Stimulation can be induced by either monopolar or bipolar stimulation. Clinically, peripheral nerve stimulation is used for neuropathic pain that follows a single nerve distribution as with trigeminal neuralgia. According to facial-neuralgia.org, after much time in the experimental category, this treatment is being used more often to treat intractable facial pain. There is very little research on the efficacy or the long-term side effects of the electronic stimulation of nerves.