A study published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research, on May 31, 2012 documents a case of a patient being helped with Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) through chiropractic care. The study starts off by reporting that TN is considered one of the most debilitating facial pain syndromes. TN usually causes very severe facial pain over one side of the upper jaw area, usually on the right side.
The authors of the study point out that the pain of TN is so severe that it is often referred to as "the suicide disease" because people who suffer from this very painful disease often contemplate suicide, and as many as half of the people who have had TN for 3 years or more committed suicide.
In this case a 54-year-old man came to the chiropractor with right-sided facial pain for a five year period. The man had been diagnosed with TN four years earlier by a neurologist. The neurologist had the patient undergo a cranial MRI which ruled out any tumor or lesion as the underlying cause of his TN. He was given the drug carbamazepine which he reported helped to reduce the intensity of the pain, but did not reduce the frequency or duration of the attacks.
The man described the pain as being like an electrical shock which was aggravated by things as minor as talking, chewing, touch, wind, and sometimes was even triggered spontaneously. Each of his episodes lasted from a fraction of a second to a minute and would occur between 100 and 200 times per day. Five years prior he rated his pain as a 5 out of 10, and currently he rated the pain as a full 10 out of 10.
A chiropractic examination was performed along with spinal x-rays. A determination was made that the top bone in his spine, the atlas, had rotated and was "subluxated". A specific course of corrective chiropractic care was then initiated.
The patient returned the day after his first adjustment and reported that both the intensity and duration of his attacks had decreased and he gave a current rating of his pain as 6 out of 10. One month after care the patient reported that he was no longer experiencing any TN attacks and he was able to discontinue his medication. The study records that twelve weeks following his initial visit the patient still hadn't experienced any pain attacks.