Which Treatment Options Are Best for Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Around the world, more than 1.5 billion people experience chronic pain. There are many causes of chronic pain, one of them being trigeminal neuralgia. Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a nerve disorder that can cause extreme facial pain. When people are diagnosed with TN, they often find themselves wondering what the best treatment option would be. This article is going to serve as a brief overview to some of the most common treatment options for trigeminal neuralgia pain.
Because trigeminal neuralgia pain is caused by nerve damage, surgery is sometimes a treatment option. There are a few common surgeries used to provide trigeminal nerve pain relief.
Brain stereotactic radiosurgery: Radiation is used in this procedure to damage the root of the trigeminal nerve in an attempt to reduce pain. This procedure can be repeated if pain does return.
Microvascular decompression: This is one of the most invasive surgical options for TN treatment, but it is also often the most effective. This procedure involves placing a soft cushion near the trigeminal nerve, separating the nerve and the blood vessels to lessen the pain.
Balloon compression: This surgical procedure involves inserting a catheter with a balloon tip through the cheek towards the base of the skull. Once there, the balloon is inflated to push against the damaged nerve, essentially blocking pain signals.
Like surgery, there are numerous options for using medication to treat trigeminal neuralgia pain. Anticonvulsants are usually one of the first treatments. These medications help slow down and lessen the pain signals received from the damaged nerve. However, some side effects of anticonvulsants can include dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness. Aside from anticonvulsants, TN patients may also try antispasmodic agents, which help relax the muscles to lessen pain. But like with any medication, there are risks, including negative side effects and the risk of drug dependence.
Ultrasound therapy is one of the newer, and most effective, treatments of TN pain. Using low-intensity ultrasound waves, the therapist can direct the ultrasound waves to the area causing the pain. The ultrasound waves can be isolated and directed right at the trigeminal nerve, reducing the risk of side effects. Additionally, this treatment option is not invasive and allows for less medication use. Ultrasound healing can reduce pain caused by TN and in some cases may actually help heal the damaged nerve.
While there are various treatment options for TN pain, ultrasound therapy is one of the fastest growing choices among patients seeking alternatives to medication and surgery. With minimal side effects and a high success rate, ultrasound therapy can help patients make their way to a pain-free life.