I posted this on the Ask Curezone forum, but I would be interested in your view on this so am posting it here also.
For the last two years I suffer from a stiffness around my eyes, and less intensely on the upper part of my face in general. Four months ago I began to do yoga which has helped reduce the stiffness considerably, although it still remains, mostly now around my left eye.
It seems that the reason for this is that the trigeminal nerve is affected, most probably by an impingement in the cervical spine. I and the doctors I am seeing this think so because when I hold a forward bending pose during yoga for long, and for some time later, I feel a twitch in my left eyebrow, and this feels like a relief, as if sensation is returning to that area of the face. The relief does not remain for long, however. The only explanation for this I have is that the forward bending pose straightens and opens up the cervical spine, and removes an impingement of the trigeminal nerve, wherever that is taking place.
I've so far avoided getting an MRI but I am now going to get one, although the doctors think that most probably it will not show anything significant, since the impingement appears to be very minor - "cellular" as they say. Any serious impingement would have caused extreme pain, as is associated with trigeminal neuralgia.
I've seen a few neurologists and orthopedists before and they prescribed SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants, which I decided not to take because of the possible side effects on mind and body. The orthopedist I recently saw and described my eyebrow twitching to prescribed gabapentin in a 100 mg daily dose, which is not an antidepressant. I've read some terrible stories about its side effects, but I am inclined to take it.
How dangerous is it to take gabapentin?
Are there any natural alternatives to stimulating the trigeminal nerve? I am going to see my acupuncturist and ask him to focus on this.
Most fundamentally, even if I manage to stimulate the trigeminal nerve into becoming fully sensate, how long will the effects last as long as I have not dealt with the cervical impingement? I have a scoliosis in my thoracic spine which causes the muscles and the spine in that area and above to be tight and out of shape, so I may perhaps have a life long tendency towards stiffness in the face connected with that area.
One of the cures for trigeminal neuralgia reported here in CZ is oil pulling. I've done oil pulling for about six months, but experienced benefit for only a few minutes, or an hour or so. That confirms my feeling that anything I do will be temporary unless I get the impingement out of the picture.
sorry for this late reply.
I am going to focus on the root problem, as that is what is my main focus always.
Buy the way, this answer I just created can be considered relevant for anyone suffering from back pain, neck pain, headaches, scoliosis, neuralgias, etc.
Here is my reply to you:
"I have a scoliosis in my thoracic spine which causes the muscles and the spine in that area and above to be tight and out of shape"
I consider this sentence the most important sentence in your message! My reply will actually focus on it.
I can't remember if you mentioned your age, as age is a very important factor in curing any scoliosis, but nevertheless, if I were you, my main focus would be on fixing the scoliosis. I would start today!
Yoga is great, you are already on the right path! But, there are a few other things I would have done.
Look out a therapist specialized in helping correct displacement of the sacroiliac joint or balancing the hips. It could be a chiropractor specialized in it, or a shiatsu therapist, or yumeiho therapist, or osteopath, or anyone who has some experience with that.
Most cases of scoliosis I have seen, and I used to work as manual therapist for many years, are actually caused by the displacement of the sacroiliac joint (joint connecting hip bones with your sacrum, lower part of your spine).
That is where most scoliosis starts, and it may manifest itself much more, much higher in the thoracic spine and in your neck.
Our hips are fundaments of our body construction. Once hips are out of balance, you can spend a fortune on trying the fix the rest of the construction, but it will seldom work.
It is like trying to fix cracks on a building, while ignoring the fact that building has bad, unstable foundations, which are the underlying cause of all cracs.
So the problem must be addressed from the cause, from the foundation, to achieve long lasting solution.
Hips and sacroiliac joints are the foundation of our body.
So, what else would I do:
Research the "Teeter Hang Ups - Dex II decompression machine".
Research the "Invertrac" decompression machine.
Research the "Inversion table" decompression machine (one of the 2 machines above is more important for you )
Do pull-us every day (I would start hanging today! you do not have to pull yourself up, hanging is enough! ).
Consider investing money in some of the machines mentioned! Buying one of those and using them every day. It is a natural way to fix spinal misalignments.
At the bottom of this message, I give you a few images and videos of machines and workouts.
That is the priority.
Now, a few other things that can also help upper spine:
- healthy lifestyle and diet !
- no Sugar , no junk foods , no industrially processed foods , no alcohol , no sleepless nights .
Our body is made out of what we eat. You can not build a good house from bad bricks .
- family constellations therapy (bert hellinger therapy) . Anyone with spinal problems need to participate in family constellations therapy.
I have no commercial interest in you purchasing any one of machines I mentioned or shown below. They are presented here just as an example of what I would have spent my money on. I used to owe some of those, by the way, so I rank them by quality of what they can do for your spine.
Decompression Machines are significantly cheaper than manual therapist, and you can used them several times per day, while taking a therapy several times per day may cost you a fortune, unless your spouse is a therapist.
Machines are sorted by their ability to fix your problem. The most relevant on top.
Used machine may be as good as new, you do not have to spend a fortune to get healthy. Used machines may be sold on Ebay, Craigs list, facebook etc.
Thank you. I'm going to see an osteopath to ask if he can help with balancing the hips.
I am 33 years old, male. Does that make a difference?
I am in India and will need to see if I can find the machines or similar ones, will begin my search soon.
After this post I got an MRI done of my brain and cervical spine and it showed that there is loss of lordosis in my cervical spine, and a blood vessel is touching my trigeminal nerve near the nerve root. This is likely the reason for my facial stiffness. I am yet to see a neurologist who may tell me what to do, but I feel that if I can get good posture and a straighter, more supple spine, then I will be able to resolve this problem. Whenever I hold a forward stretch in yoga my facial issues go away.
The orthopedist I am seeing said that he has never seen spinal issues this kind of a problem, so he doesn't think my scoliosis and muscular stiffness is connected to my trigeminal nerve issue. What do you think from your experience?
The orthopedist also said there might be a need for microvascular decompression, which is a brain surgery, to separate the nerve and the vessel, but he said only the neurologist can give an assured opinion on that. What do you think of brain surgeries? If I get one done they will leave a teflon sponge between my nerve and vessel to prevent them from touching each other, and close my skull with a tiny titanium plate in place of the bone tissue they remove. Apart from getting my brain opened, I am quite vary of having these two artificial materials in my brain as they may be toxic and therefore carcinogenic.
In case it’s still relevant or helps anyone else the herb gelsemium is a specific for trigeminal neuralgia and I have seen incredible results from the crippling pain whilst using this herb. You will need to get it from a qualified medical Herbalist but it is very effective. The person I gave it to regularly used Gabapentin (he had MS) thanks
Hi, yes I mean the herb although I’d think gelsemium given homoeopathically in the right dose should help. Ah that’s difficult for you. I guess you could consult with a good Herbalist somewhere like here- the UK and get them to prescribe via Skype maybe? If you need details of someone excellent. Message me. All the best
Hi, of the things you mention I think acupuncture is probably most effective for this kind of problem. I would be inclined to keep focusing on the problem with your back you already know about. Have you seen a chiropractor? I wouldn’t be surprised if the problem in your face was a direct link. You could consider iridologist for diagnosis too. Re the gelsemium it tends to treat pain more than stiffness, maybe worth a try but it of course isn’t helping you get to the root cause but may offer some relief?
All the best
hi greenheartgirl. yes, it would be nice if you could refer me to a good herbalist in the UK. i'd need to see if i can afford the fee, given the income difference between here and there, and if i can get what she prescribes. but it's worth looking into.
actually, in the last month and a half, i realised that correcting my posture and stretching my neck no longer seems to affect my trigeminal nerve. it's strange, i don't know the reason why this is so. my symptoms with the facial stiffness and numbness are still there, perhaps slightly less that they've been in the last 2 years, but unlike earlier, stretching my neck no longer helps.
initially i took this to mean that the nerve is now healthier and less sensitive to being touched by the blood vessel. the mri i had done in january showed that a blood vessel was touching the nerve, and my physical therapist and i both felt that because stretching the neck helps, it must be moving that blood vessel away from the nerve. but it helps almost negligibly now.
in any case, over the last two years i've been to both the two chiropractors there are in this city. adjustments helped for a couple of hours, after which the symptoms returned. the second one suggested that i must work hard with stretches and strengthening exercises to build up a good posture so that the nerve is not irritated. i did a lot of exercise and yoga but wasn't able to really improve my neck posture. however, the stretches in physical therapy and in yoga used to reduce the symptoms as long as i held the stretches. now they don't. so i am not so keen on continuing on the posture work, although i am still doing it a few times a week for general benefits and to take care of my back pain.
i saw a couple of acupuncture specialists but that didn't help much either. one put needles all over my body and it didn't have any effect, i went for 15 sessions over a month's time. and the other focused mostly only on my neck, and it had an effect but it didn't last more than a couple of hours. i kept going 5 weeks and then stopped because it took a lot of time and money and didn't have any lasting effect, just like exercise. a couple of times he also put some needles for the points of the trigeminal nerve, and i had the same experience. slight improvement for a couple of hours. i was wondering if i should see someone who specifically works on the trigeminal nerve, perhaps thats the way to go now.