I have a stiffness around my left eye, and my doctors and I feel that it is related to the compression of the trigeminal nerve somewhere in the cervical spine or jaw.
The reason for this diagnosis is that the stiffness is around the same areas that the trigeminal nerve supplies, particularly around the left eye, eyebrow, forehead. Vitamin b12 injections relieve the stiffness immediately but only for an hour. I do yoga, and when I can hold a forward bending pose for long (perhaps a minute or more), then I feel that the stiffness goes away, and i also feel a twitching of the left eyebrow which brings relief to my symptoms. The twitching may come and go for the whole day after the yoga.
These are some of the reasons for the diagnosis of a compressed / impinged trigeminal nerve. I have so far not got on MRI done because I do not want to expose myself to the magnetic field, and also because the doctors think that the impingement must be very minute, else I would have the extreme pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia. Such a minute impingement may not show on an MRI. However, I've had this illness for 2 years and it affects my social and work relationships. I am a psychotherapist and need to make good face to face contact. So I am considering getting the MRI finally, to see if it may confirm this diagnosis.
I took ayurvedic medicines (I'm in India and that's the dominant herbal healing tradition here) for about three months from one doctor and three months from another, and it didn't help. Initially one of the medicines I took from these doctors, something based on an extract from gold, seemed to immediately relieve the stiff and numb sensations, and make me feel like there was a mild electric current passing through the area where I have stiffness. It felt good and I took this to be a sign that the medicine is working. But the effect stayed for only an hour or so, and then stopped coming at all after about ten days.
I am considering seeing an ayurvedic doctor again to see if he can do something for my nerve. I am writing to you because most doctors do not explain things and I really want to understand how my body is working and responding to these medicines.
I am concerned that even if a herb or mineral can regenerate my nerve, will not that effect be temporary only, as long as I do not straighten out and stretch my spine, so that the impingement is removed?
The ayurvedic doctor I saw said that in ayurveda they believe that if a herb regenerates a nerve enough then the nerve has its own intelligence to move away from the bone or muscle that is pressing on it. Or this is what I understood from his hurried explanation. Do you agree with this? It sounds interesting but from a conventional medicine perspective, not quite right.
Also, I've seen for conventional allopathic doctors over the last 2 years for this problem, and all of them prescribed me antidepressants - either tricyclic or SSRIs - for the nerve. I do not have depression. I have not taken these because I've read a lot about how these drugs affect your emotional, physical, sexual health, sometimes for life. The last doctor prescribed gabapentin, which is not an antidepressant and as far as I know, does not go through the blood brain barrier. Since I have had this problem for long, I am considering taking either the gabapentin, or if does not work, then trying the antidepressants.
What do you think about antidepressants and about gabapentin? Would you say that someone with a long standing problem, that is serious and is not helped by other treatments, should try them?
The reason for the cervical impingement is that I have a mild scoliosis in my thoracic spine and there is a spasm in the muscles of my upper back, shoulders, neck, all on the left side, which probably misaligns the cervical vertebrae. I've done physical therapy exercises for a year, and they didn't help. For four months I've done yoga which helps to some extent, and some mildly helpful chiropractic adjustments, but I seem to have reached a point beyond which healing seems to be very very slow, if possible at all. Particularly with a job that requires a lot of sitting and quite some work on the computer, and hence, not idea posture.