Afflicted trigeminal nerve - is gabapentin a good solution?
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 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 trigeminal nerve is the one that supplies sensation to this area.
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, because weighing the pros and cons, I feel it is worth taking this, since I have suffered from these symptoms for quite long and they affect my work and relationships considerably.
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 recommended for trigeminal neuralgia on this website is oil pulling. I oil pulled for about six months and felt better, but only for about an hour or so. This reinforces my sense that unless I deal with the impingement, I will not experience lasting benefits from any drug or any other treatment.