Multiple Sclerosis and Trigeminal Neuralgia: what’s the connection?
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, pain syndromes are common in MS. In one study, 55% of people with MS had “clinically significant pain” at some time. Almost half (48%) were troubled by chronic pain. This study suggested that factors such as age at onset, length of time with MS, or degree of disability played no part in distinguishing the people with pain from the people who were pain free. The study also indicated that twice as many women as men experienced pain as part of their MS.
One of the most devastating pain syndromes a person can have is Trigeminal neuralgia which is a stabbing pain in the face. It can occur as an initial symptom of MS. While it can be confused with dental pain, this pain is neuropathic (caused by damage to the trigeminal nerve) in origin.
The medical approaches to trigeminal neuralgia are extremely invasive, including botox injections. Botox, or Botulinum toxin as it is known in the scientific community, is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
Another possibility for patients suffering with trigeminal neuralgia is a type of brain surgery called Microvascular decompression it is a neurosurgical procedure that can have serious complications including death, stroke, hearing loss and facial weakness. The surgery itself can cost as much as $70,000.
The Upper Cervical Option
If a person with trigeminal neuralgia has a history of head or neck trauma another option should be thoroughly explored, because drug free trigeminal neuralgia relief is possible.
Dr. Michael Burcon a upper cervical chiropractic researcher from Michigan, has done some incredible research on the upper neck. He has determined that over 90% of patients who have been diagnosed with these types of conditions have suffered a head or neck trauma usually whiplash an average of 15 years prior.
Here’s an example from his research: A 57 year old female presented with right sided trigeminal neuralgia (TN) of two years duration. TN pain was helped by medication and exacerbated by exposure to cold. Secondary complaints included high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, diminished hearing in left ear, neck pain, bilateral shoulder pain, right shin numbness and allergies. Prescriptions included Gabapentin for trigeminal neuralgia 900 mg 3xs/day (2700 total with 3600 being maximum prescribed)
History included being knocked unconscious in a fall when ten years old, significant fall while skiing thirteen years prior and recent fall onto the sidewalk.
One week after specific her first upper cervical adjustment TN pain diminished dramatically in frequency and intensity. After discussing the improvement with her neurologist, she started cutting back on her Gabapentin dosage. After eight weeks, the patient was completely off the medication and pain free. Additionally, she reduced her high blood pressure medication by fifty percent. After two years of maintenance care, she is still pain free without medication, even after major dental work.
Dr. Burcon concludes this case study by stating “Although a case study is limited in its ability to provide conclusions, this study is a typical representation of over three hundred cases researched at Burcon Chiropractic over the past ten years, where the same protocol is used for all one sided brain stem disorders, including Bell’s palsy, migraine headaches, Meniere’s syndrome, Trigeminal neuralgia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.”
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Dr. Kurt Sherwood, D.C. is Upper Cervical Specialist and has helped many people to find drug-free relief from multiple sclerosis symptoms in Renton, Washington over the past 20 plus years. He is trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. He specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems including multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, and vertigo. More information can be found on his website at http://www.sherwoodspinalcare.com