Trigeminal Neuralgia Ayurvedic Treatment

It is a type of headache affecting one side of face where the person feels an electric shock or abnormal sensations in the affected side. Problems in the trigeminal nerve (the nerve involved in receiving sensory signals from face and sends to brain) results in trigeminal neuralgia. Hence, the person experience headache even with mild stimulation (eg: exposure to wind, brushing teeth etc). A normal blood vessel and trigeminal nerve connect each other causing increased pressure in the nerve and finally trigeminal neuralgia. Other causes are tumor, multiple sclerosis, stress, surgical injury, facial trauma etc. 

Signs and symptoms

 The common signs and symptoms are spontaneous headache at one side, episodes of sharp stabbing pain over one side of head, headache triggered by brushing tooth/ touching face/ having food etc, pain focused at a single point, pain spreading to cheeks/ jaw/gum/ teeth, headache only during day time etc. 

Ayurvedic analysis

Ananthavata is a type of shirashoola (headache) caused by aggravation of tridosha. All the three dosha dislodge at Manya (vital point at the junction of chin and neck) and produce headache. The pain may spread to eyebrows, eyes, cheeks etc. Chronic cases often develop complications like eye diseases, locked jaw etc. 

Causative factors (Ayurveda)

 Common causes of shirashoola are exposure to toxic fumes, sunlight, mist, dust, cold water; excess sleep/ sleeplessness; stress; direct wind; excessive crying or suppression of tears; excess water intake; alcoholism; krimi (infections); suppressing the urges of defecation/ sneezing; avoiding oil application over scalp; inappropriate pillow; looking downwards for a long time etc. All these factors vitiate vata and it further vitiates other dosha affecting Manya to produce Ananthavata

Possible complications

 Chronic trigeminal neuralgia causes difficulties to perform daily activities, permanent nerve damage, loss of weight due to inadequate food intake (as chewing worsens the pain), depression etc. 

Other systemic diseases and precautions to be taken

 Rule out other problems such as tumor before planning treatment. 

Management

 The principle of management is pacifying tridosha and avoiding the causative factors. Internal medicines are provided along with procedures such as snehana (internal administration of lipid formulation of medicine, oil massage over the head), swedana (eg: sirodhara with milk and ghee), nasya (nasal instillation of medicine), virechana (purgation therapy), etc. If needed, (in associated psychological issues) psychotherapy can also be given. 

Diet

 The diet must contain recipes prepared from black gram, jaggery, milk, ghee, sugar etc. consume more green vegetables, nuts, milk, small fishes, meat soup, sweet fruits etc and drink plenty of water. Avoid the use of spicy food, dry items, sour/ salt food etc. 

Exercise

 Mild exercises can be done as per the recommendation of physician. Yoga, pranayama, and meditation are also useful. 

Preventive aspects

 Avoid over-exertion, over-exposure to sunlight/ wind/ dust/ fumes/ cold water etc; eat healthy nutritious food; drink enough water; avoid stress; take food containing ghee, milk, jaggery, black gram etc; and ensure adequate sleep, exercise regularly. 

Importance of diet

 In Ananthavata, diet prepared from black gram, milk, sugar, jaggery and ghee is specially mentioned, that can alleviate tridosha dushti and improves health and functioning of trigeminal nerve. 

Lifestyle 

  • Avoid diving in water.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Do not skip food.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Ensure adequate sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. 
  • Apply suitable oil over the scalp and massage gently. 
  • Practice nasya, karnapoorana, gandusha etc as per the instructions of physician. 
  • Avoid sitting or standing with looking downwards for a long period. 
  • Stay away from other triggering factors.

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