Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal or 5th cranial nerve, one of the most widely distributed nerves in the head. TN is a form of neuropathic pain (pain associated with nerve injury or nerve lesion.) The typical or “classic” form of the disorder (called “Type 1” or TN1) causes extreme, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like facial pain that lasts anywhere from a few seconds to as long as two minutes per episode. These attacks can occur in quick succession, in volleys lasting as long as two hours. The “atypical” form of the disorder (called “Type 2” or TN2), is characterized by constant aching, burning, stabbing pain of somewhat lower intensity than Type 1. Both forms of pain may occur in the same person, sometimes at the same time. The intensity of pain can be physically and mentally incapacitating.
Researchers conducted a controlled experiment comparing the efficaciousness of carbamazepine with acupuncture. Carbamazepine is an FDA approved anticonvulsant drug used for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia and is also used for controlling seizures in epileptic patients and mania in bipolar patients. A total of 22 out of 40 patients in the carbamazepine group fully recovered. A total of 30 out of 40 patients fully recovered in the acupuncture group. This yields a 55% cure rate for carbamazepine and 70% for acupuncture.
Acupuncture demonstrated a higher total effective rate than carbamazepine. The total effective rate
includes all patient improvements ranging from mild to cured. Carbamazepine achieved an 87.50%
total effective rate and acupuncture achieved a 95% total effective rate.
We have treated this diagnosis many times; patients respond at different rates but improvement is almost 100%.