Acupuncture as an Adjunct Treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia


Since being diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, it went from bad to worse.  Even with the maximum dosage of Pregabalin and a thrice-a-day dose of Tegretol, the pain in my face was an almost constant 8-9 out of 10.  I like the following pain scale, because it also shows my mental state.

15 Pain Scales (And How To Find The Best One For You) |

Not only was I reeling from the Tegretol, but I was almost incapacitated with facial pain, which somehow is so much worse than pain in something further away.  I was taking huge quantities of medications designed to control this pain and it just wasn’t working.

So I put all my hopes on a blood vessel touching my trigeminal nerve somewhere so they could perform microvascular decompression, which is this really cool brain surgery where they stick a little sponge between the blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve and voila, around about 7 years of no pain!

The MRI showed up nothing.  Everything was fine.  Nothing was even vaguely touching the trigeminal nerve.  There was no explanation for why I had trigeminal neuralgia.

I had a complete meltdown.  I was really banking on the MRI showing something, and it didn’t.

The next day I booked in for acupuncture.  I have now had three acupuncture sessions, and I’m just about to go to my fourth.

After the first acupuncture session my pain went down to a 2-3.  I stopped taking my midday Tegretol, so I was down to twice-a-day Tegretol.  After my second acupuncture session, my pain went down to a 1-2.  I was moving that week, so every once in a while I would have a flare up to a 7.  The CBD Living Freeze (they don’t pay me for this shout out) has been a godsend for these flareups.  I roll it all over my face, fan the eucalyptus and menthol fumes away from my eyeballs (it buuuuuurns), and my face feels normal again!

I have a mild worming pain across my zygomatic arch right now, and a bit of a bone eating sensation in my jaw, but the consistent pain rarely gets above a 3.  As I said before, I am just about to go to my fourth acupuncture session, and once my nerves have settled down from that I shall drop my Tegretol down to once a day.

My goal is to completely come off Tegretol and regain my brain and my waistline!

“I can cure you … promise!”


The number of times I have heard those words in the last few months since I have “come out” as having fibromyalgia is astronomical.

“I can cure you, promise!”

The first one was from a very pushy relative who exploded my inbox with con-man speak – you know the kind of language I’m talking about, that overly grand and emotive language people at things like the Landmark forum use to hook you in.  “Do it for your mum!” was a big one which nearly made me spit the dummy and tell her to sod off – if I’m going to do anything, it will be for me and not for anyone else, so I can hold myself accountable and not put that pressure on another being.  No one else should be the one I ‘change’ for, that’s unfair to them or to myself.

I was told I had to eat these particular foods all the time, fresh bone broth at least once a day, do all these things, and take all these essential oils and then just keep taking these for ever and you’re cured!

Image result for princess bride i don't think you know what that word means

The second time was yesterday.  I spoke to a friendly acquaintance who didn’t know what fibromyalgia was, so I explained it simply, and then told me she could cure it.

It’s all an autoimmune thing, prozac is causing everything, you shouldn’t be on any medications at all because they’re all bad and they’re all going to destroy your brain and leave you unable to function, look at us we’re over 65 and we’re not on any medication at all because we take supplements and essential oils!  Take these supplements and essential oils and you’ll be cured!

See, here’s what everyone seems to get wrong:  other than pedaling snake oil, to ‘cure’ means to ‘eliminate the disease or condition’.  None of the above are ‘curing’ the condition, because if those things were effective, once I stopped doing all those things, oh look the pain is back.

The first is literally too energy intensive for me to try, and given to me in such an overly pushy manner that I’m just saying no, get stuffed.  It all has a very false feel to it, and it feels to me like if I started down that path, I would just get sucked into more and more things and it would all go badly.

The second is the exact opposite of what I want to do.  I want to stay on my medication.  It is working.  It is helping.  It is not completely eradicating all symptoms, but it is minimising them to a point where I can continue with my life and do most of the things I need to do without being in undue pain and exhaustion.

I’m not against supplements (or essential oils) – I’m taking a whole host of them as it is, and they’re what started this whole journey in the first place.  I am against relying exclusively on them for a serious and complex set of medical conditions.  They are an adjunct therapy, not an exclusive one.