What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that affects the trigeminal nerve (the 5th cranial nerve), one of the largest nerves in the head. Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by a sudden, electric shock-like or stabbing pain very severe in nature typically felt on one side of the jaw or cheek. The attacks of pain, which generally last several seconds and may be repeated one after the other, may be triggered by talking, chewing or swallowing, brushing teeth or even touching the face. The attacks may come any or many times in a day or be absent for ages. The disorder is seen more in women than men. This condition becomes more common with age and is rare in people under 40 years of age.
Is there any treatment in modern medicine?
Typically anticonvulsant medications such as carbamazepine or phenytoin are used. Baclofen, clonazepam, gabapentin, and valproic acid may also be effective and may be used in combination to achieve pain relief. If medication fails to relieve pain, surgical treatment may be recommended. Research suggests that surgery provides effective long-term pain relief and that around 70-90% of people are unlikely to experience recurring pain. However, the chance of the pain returning will vary depending on the type of surgery used. There are also potential side effects to consider before having surgery, such as hearing loss or facial numbness.
Can Yoga therapy help in Trigeminal Neuralgia?
According to yoga pain is manifestation of excessive speed of the prana( vital energy). This occurs by getting lost in loop of thoughts when we are stressed and hence all the prana is pulled in brain. Excess prana in brain leads to construction and blockage of prana nadis (channels). Pain is an experience of too many sensory nerves being triggered.
1. The trick to reduce pain is through slowing down this speed of the mind and hence the nervous system. The best know way to reduce speed of thoughts is through deep slow breathing.
2. Defocus the point of pain by increasing awareness to wider area.
3. Alter speed of fast and slow breathing followed by deep rest.
Are there some other yoga practices which can help in Trigeminal Neuralgia?
2. Ardhakati Cakrasana( Half waist rotation pose)
3. Ardha Cakrasana( half wheel pose)
4. Shoulder rotation with hands on shoulders
5. Neck movements – forward backward bending, side movement
6. Hand in and out breathing.
7. Bhujangasana( cobra pose)
8. Kapalabhati( forceful exhalation)
9. Nadisuddhi – (Alternative nostril breathing)
10. Abdominal breathing
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