Have you ever been electrocuted by an outlet in your home or a loose wire? The feeling is unforgettable. My son thought it would be an adventure to stick his tongue in the kitchen outlet when he was three years old and he still has a scar to remind him of it. We tell him that God sent an angel to protect him, so he must’ve still had important work to do. I have had small encounters with being shocked unexpectedly and I cannot imagine what it must be like to experience that kind of pain at random times in my face every day. However, my mother knows what it feels like.
A few years ago, my mother developed trigeminal neuralgia (TN). “Trigeminal” refers to the name of the nerve that serves the face and “neuralgia” means nerve pain, so the term literally means pain from the facial nerve. Hers is on the right side of her face. We don’t really know how it developed, but she did experience small strokes that may have caused it. She was also on seizure medication off and on, which means that there was already disorganized electrical activity in her brain. The seizures started after she had a bout of meningitis, so perhaps her brain was damaged by the infection in multiple ways. Doctors believe that most TN is caused by blood vessels in the brain pressing on the root of the trigeminal nerve, near the brain stem. Why the blood vessels would suddenly be pressing on the nerve when they weren’t before is a mystery. I find it interesting that some sources say that the nerve is inflamed and other sources say that the blood vessels are enlarged. Hmm. No matter what, there is inflammation in the brain.
When she first told me about it, I thought that it was a lot like migraine headaches, but no, she explained that it was more like intense little shocks of electricity that caused excruciating, burning pain. At first, the episodes were occasional, and were treated with medication. But over time, the medication stopped working and the frequency and intensity of the pain increased. She continued to try different medications, but either the side effects became unbearable or the drug didn’t help anymore. Things went on like that for a year or so until she had exhausted all the possible drugs she could try. Then, her neurologist scheduled her for brain surgery to insert a cushion between the nerve and the blood vessel that was thought to be compressing it. This procedure, while very invasive, offered the best possible outcome. Most people who go through it never have pain again. While other procedures promise pain relief for up to three years, this one usually gives relief for at least twelve years, if the pain returns at all.
My mother’s pain returned after only two years. She agreed to go through the surgery a second time and the pain returned after only one year. During both surgeries, I felt numb. Brain surgery seems scary to me and there is always a risk of death or further loss of function. I really wanted my mom to try a trigeminal neuralgia natural treatment since the conventional treatment obviously wasn’t working. Instead, she opted for radiation treatment. Let me just say that my mother is still suffering. She says it’s not as bad as it was, but she is losing her memory and has balance problems, among other things. She now has a permanently damaged trigeminal nerve.
This makes me sad and angry. No one wants to see their loved one suffer, and I am reminded of how conventional medicine has failed her every time I see her. She is barely over sixty years old and yet she has to walk with a cane, cannot work, and has all these health problems (please see my rheumatoid arthritis article to read more about my mother). Knowing that physical problems are sometimes a manifestation of unforgiveness or another ongoing spiritual issue, I wonder if she is bitter about some of her past experiences. Unloading bitterness, resentment, anger, emotional hurts, and fears to God can release the body to heal. My mother has had a hard life and maybe her body is an outward expression of that.
However, if indeed her brain is suffering from inflammation, there is hope even though her nerve is said to be permanently damaged. Many of my articles talk about diet as key to reducing inflammation and healing from a host of diseases. Diet is still a key element in a trigeminal neuralgia natural treatment strategy.
After all, inflammation is a reaction of the immune system when it thinks there is a threat. If there is inflammation in the brain, then there is either something damaged there that the body is attempting to heal; or, there is some foreign body there that the immune system is attacking. I highly recommend the Auto Immune Protocol, which is a modified Paleo diet. On this diet, all grains and pseudo grains such as quinoa, legumes, sugar (even natural), dairy, nuts and seeds, eggs, nightshade plants (tomato, eggplant, pepper, potato), vegetable oils, coffee, and anything fake are eliminated from the diet.
In addition, there are several herbs that help the nervous system heal. The following herbs are most beneficial: skullcap herb, wood betony herb, valerian root, mistletoe twigs, and passionflower herb.
Diet will supply the much needed nutrients and eliminate most sources of inflammation while the herbs will work to rebuild and strengthen the nervous system. This is much better than enduring two brain surgeries and radiation. Please tell me about your story below.