In the summer of 2009 I developed a slight pain in my left temple. It progressively got worse and more painful to the touch. By autumn it got really bad. It got to the point that it was always in pain without it being touched and when it was touched it was like having lightning run through my face.
I went to the university’s medical center and they really had no idea what was happening and they kindly took my $90 for the visit and told me to go to another doctor’s office (let’s just say I wasn’t too happy about that). I went to my old family doctor’s office back in Richmond, VA and the doctor told me I had trigeminal neuralgia. It took me a while to say it and learn to spell it but he was kind enough to explain the situation to me. The trigeminal nerve is located by the temple and has three other nerves branches coming out from it; one to the lower jaw, another to the cheek area, and the other towards the eye. I was also interested to find out that this condition is most common in middle-aged women, I considered myself to be the lucky one.
I was then referred to a neurologist in Richmond who didn’t help me at all. I guess he wanted to see how much in pain he could make me on my first visit so he pushed down on the nerve when I got there. I gave out a violent jolt and a scream and had me in pain for quite a long time after that (the lightning bolt pain lingers for a while). I was prescribed this medicine that dulls the neurological system to help dull the pain. It didn’t really help. All it did was make my tongue go numb and make me tired. After months of continuous pain, not being able to sleep on that side of the pillow, use headphones, and barely being able to shave the left side of my face, my wife (then girlfriend) convinced me to go a chiropractor. This is the victory story. After five months of going to the chiropractor the pain dramatically decreased! It was amazing! So for any of you who suffer (and yes, it’s a suffering pain) from trigeminal neuralgia, I recommend trying a chiropractor. It didn’t cure me because I still have the pain but it’s only to the touch now and the area of touch is much smaller. I still have to have my hair dresser be careful when cutting my hair and I still have to be careful when shampooing my hair but it is quite manageable at this point.
I’ve been blessed throughout this whole ordeal by having resources available to me online and meeting others that have this condition as well. I’d recommend Ben’s Friends (a community for people with rare diseases to get support), Living With TN (a support group for those who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia), and Kathy Gilbert Taylor (a certified rehabilitation counselor who has a great story about her familiarity with TN). Kathy has been an online acquaintance of mine for quite some time and is such a wonderful, caring, and godly woman. I really appreciate her ministry and the encouragement she has provided for me. So, for those who are struggling with trigeminal neuralgia, I hope this is some encouragement for you, it can be controlled and you can once again have a normal lifestyle.