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Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Trigeminal Neuralgia

The trigeminal nerve is a cranial nerve that supplies both motor and sensory functions of the face. The trigeminal nerve (or Cranial Nerve V) branches into three parts- the mandibular branch, the maxillary branch, and the ophthalmic branch.

The trigeminal nerve has a nucleus located in the brainstem which is responsible for relaying pain and temperature sensations to the brain from the face.

Occasionally, the trigeminal nerve will be affected by hypersensitivity and overactivation, causing sharp, sudden and shooting nerve pain into the face on any of the branches.

These nerve pain attacks can happen seemingly at random, but are often triggered by touch, temperature or movement.

While the exact cause of trigeminal neuralgia is unknown, many practitioners agree that there is some sort of pressure on the trigeminal nerve on the affected side of the face. It is for this reason that common surgical treatments of trigeminal neuralgia include decompression of the blood vessels surrounding the nerve or a nerve block in the nerve bundle that sends pain signals from the face to the brain.

It is important to remember that while procedures that block signals from the affected nerve to the brain are effective in relieving pain, it is ignoring the root cause of why the pain is present in the first place. Pain signals are important because they are a signal to the brain that function of that nerve or structures that it supplies has been compromised.

This is where upper cervical chiropractic is effective in relieving pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia. As discussed previously, the nucleus of the trigeminal nerve is located in the brainstem.

The brainstem is encased and protected by the first cervical vertebrae, or C1 (atlas). When this bone moves out of alignment with the base of the skull or on top of the C2 vertebra, this puts pressure and abnormal torsion on the brainstem.

Upper cervical chiropractors are trained in analyzing these potential misalignments using specialized imaging and neurological functional tests and scans. When the atlas or C2 misalignment is analyzed and corrected, relief of trigeminal pain is a common effect that patients report. It is important that those who suffer with trigeminal neuralgia or other similar nerve pain be checked for a misalignment in the C1 vertebra by a trained upper cervical chiropractor.

Visit to find the closest Blair upper cervical specialist near you.

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