FACIAL NEURALGIA
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Last Updated 09/15/06
 
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TREATMENTS FOR
FACIAL NEURALGIA

Disclaimer.

This section deals with the various treatments that have been used to treat facial neuralgias under some form of professional supervision. This point cannot be stressed enough. The treatments mentioned in the Drugs and Surgical sections should and can only be tried under a doctor's watching eye. Should you wish to try one of the Alternative treatments, it is highly recommended that you seek out a qualified and legitimate practitioner. There are some things that you can try out by yourself; these are discussed separately in the Practical Hints section..

To put this section in the correct perspective, please remember that it has been conceived and written by people with no official medical training whatsoever. Professional assistance and advice has been (and will be...) gladly taken whenever it has been given, but in the end, this section has been written by facial neuralgia victims for the benefit of facial neuralgia victims.

Our primary aim has been to collect the widest possible selection of plausible treatments. Most of the surgical treatments described in the following pages are used to help Trigeminal Neuralgia and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia patients. Many textbooks and doctors will cite one or two treatments and state that they are effective in dealing with "true" TN or GN. If a patient does not respond to these treatments, then he or she does not have "typical" TN. Indeed, for classical text-book cases the standard treatments are often effective. Unfortunately, real people are real people and rarely classical text-book cases. "Atypical" features seem to be the rule rather than the exception. (This is not a rigorous scientific claim, but an observation based on personal and others' experiences).

Therefore, in spite of what the textbooks may say, the treatment of facial neuralgias such as TN is not a simple matter. A wide variety of treatments have been tried. Some have been tested rigorously in scientific experiments. Other treatments have only more or less anecdotal support. Some of the things tested have been useless. Some have been helpful. A treatment may help one person but have no effect on another. Illnesses are never simple, and facial neuralgia disorders are particularly complicated.

Our basic method of dealing with this chaos has been very simple. Whenever a possible treatment is mentioned anywhere, we pounce on it and try to research it to the best of our abilities. Unfortunately, the material can be bewilderingly complicated. Different sources may give inconsistent information. Or the same statistics may be interpreted in different ways. Some treatments are considered criminally fraudulent by some doctors, yet used routinely by others. It is not uncommon to find almost fanatic attachment to one particular mode of treatment. To put it bluntly: it's a jungle out there.

We have tried our best to hack through that jungle. That is all we can say and promise. We have made every effort to find high-quality information, but in the end we can make no guarantees about what is in these pages. They are here for you to browse in the hope that you will be able to make informed decisions about your condition and treatments. If you find anything interesting here, by all means mention it to your doctor as a possibility. We emphasize that any actual decisions should and must be made under professional supervision.

The treatments

Drug treatments. Various drugs are usually the first line of treatment for facial neuralgias. Anticonvulsants and antidepressants are routinely given in various combinations for TN and GN disorders. Various other drugs have also been used  for individual facial neuralgia cases.

Surgical treatments. If drugs do not help or the side effects are too severe, there are several different surgical options available to TN and GN patients. Other facial neuralgia disorders such as atypical TN and atypical facial pain often are not helped by surgery.  Each surgical option has its advantages and disadvantages. We have tried to be as evenhanded as possible, but here more than anywhere else the material is difficult, conflicting, and even controversial.

"Alternative" treatments. This category contains a wide variety of treatments that are usually not mentioned in the more rigorous literature, but are nevertheless commonly used. Some of the treatments deal with the side effects of facial neuralgias rather than the condition itself. Some are "borderline" or "pseudo-scientific".

 



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