Earlier this fall, I received a phone call from a woman living in a rural town in southern Missouri, about 75 miles from St. Louis. An article in her local newspaper mentioned Upper Cervical Care, which prompted her to research the topic online. After stumbling across my website, she scheduled an appointment to find out if her health problem might benefit.
Her symptoms mimicked what’s known as Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), or tic douloureux. TN affects the trigeminal nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head. It’s characterized by shooting pains within the face.
The role of the trigeminal nerve is to send impulses of touch, pain, pressure, and temperature to the brain from the face, jaw, gums, forehead, and around the eyes. According to WebMD, “the most frequent cause of trigeminal neuralgia is a blood vessel pressing on the nerve near the brain stem.”
In her case, she began suffering from intermittent pain across part of her forehead, through her cheek, and into her left eye and lower jaw. X-ray analysis determined that a measurable upper cervical misalignment was present, so we proceeded with care and scheduled a follow-up visit one week later.
She informed me that for five days after receiving her first correction, the pain reduced significantly. On the 6th day, however, the pain returned. I asked her if she could recall anything in particular that may have caused the pain to resurface. The only thing she could remember was falling asleep on Night-5 with her head tilted up on the arm of the couch. Before adjusting her a second time, I offered some basic but cautionary advice – don’t fall asleep on your couch.
Unfortunately, she forgot! Three days after her 2nd correction she fell asleep on the couch again, and guess what happened… The TN symptoms returned, and she had to make the long drive to my office a third time.
After receiving her 3rd correction, she promised not to fall asleep in any more caddywompus positions. Interestingly enough, she hasn’t needed any more adjustments! She’s been mindful of her head/neck posture, hasn’t allowed any mechanical stress within the upper cervical area, and has been feeling much better.
So what caused this problem? Does sleeping on a couch cause TN? Of course not… But I suspect that the upper neck pressure (near the base of her skull) played a significant role. Sleeping in an unbalanced position likely added to the pre-existing stress of the upper cervical misalignment, causing a flare-up of the facial pain.
While not every case of Trigeminal Neuralgia will be this responsive, Upper Cervical Care is a potential solution worth consideration. Sufferers are encouraged to learn as much as they can about this unique form of chiropractic.
An additional resource for TN sufferers is, “What Time Tuesday?” written by James Tomasi. James became a staunch supporter of Upper Cervical Care after the relentless pain of TN drove him to contemplate ending his own life. Today, he travels the country speaking about his experiences with Trigeminal Neuralgia.
There are approximately 500 exclusive Upper Cervical chiropractors across America. Email me if you’d like some assistance finding a doctor near you.