A 74 year old white, European, male presented in mid-April, complaining of excruciating pain and simultaneously with lack of sensation but with a tingling sensation on the left side of his face, from just below the left eye to just above the left half of the lip and posteriorly to just in front of the left ear. He had this pain in its present form for over 3-1/2 years. He had been diagnosed as having trigeminal neuralgia, at a very large well-known teaching hospital in the area. He said the pain had actually been worse and much more excruciating before he presented to the teaching hospital 3-1/2 years before.
After he was initially evaluated, he was given painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication, which he reports didn’t make any difference at all. He was then given stronger medications, in kind and quantity but made very little difference, and the difference it made lasted only until the medication wore off. He said even with this strong medication he could not even splash water on his face the pain was so severe.
A specialist – a neurologist, specializing in trigeminal neuralgia, then saw him. He was advised against surgery to “cut the nerve” as the effects would probably not be isolated and circumscribed to only the area where the pain was and he could lose sensation to other areas as well as possibly lose control to some of his muscles of mastication. He was recommended to have “a radiation treatment”, he reports with “cobalt”. This would destroy just the nerve that was conducting the pain and the pain would go away “safely”. He underwent the sessions and did indeed improve, to the point where he could now wash his face; and was able to sleep at night, though with a light and interrupted sleep.
Upon examination the area of pain was visibly swollen. It was sensitive to the lightest touch. Vibration from 128 cps tuning fork was exquisitely painful, “like a cut” and left a painful “afterimage” that lasted for over 10 seconds. The other significant finding on visual inspection was extreme forward flexion of his upper back, forming a slight hump. He had difficulty lifting his arms above shoulder level. He had mild weakness in flexing his fingers in his left hand, and mild weakness in opposing his thumbs in both hands. He went on to report that the pain had originally started, though not as strong, after a fall he had in 1969. He took a tumble, head first down a flight of stairs, and landed on his upper back, and was told he broke vertebra. The pain in his upper back was severe, but eventually went away.
He gradually noticed as his upper back improved, that he had a strange sensation in his face. It never went away, but didn’t get worse until the late 1980s. The 4th and 5th vertebral spinouses were excruciatingly painful to palpation. X-rays showed an old compression fracture of the T4 vertebral body. In assessing this situation, it would make sense, that the fall he had played a significant role in producing the pain of trigeminal neuralgia. More so, that the injury was to some significant degree active and present, and had not yet fully healed, and was still contributing to the facial pain and numbness.
He received five, 10 minute sessions, with the QGM (Mind), in addition to very precise coupled motion chiropractic adjustments at the base of the neck. Immediately after the first session he felt relief in pain both in the spine and in his face. He was able to lift both his arms above his head, and the strength in finger flexion and thumb opposition improved to a total lock, with no fatigue upon challenge. Afterwards he reported being able to sleep full nights with no restlessness, and wakes up tranquil and refreshed in the morning. The feeling of tranquility remained with him more often than not throughout the day.
By the third session he had stopped taking all the medications he was taking for his condition. (He says that now that he does not have to take these medications, he realizes they were making him sick and doing more harm than good). Initially the emphasis of the sessions was on the spine. Then we also waved the transducer in the vicinity of the facial outflows of the 2nd and 3rd divisions of the trigeminal nerve – below the left eye, in front of the ear and around the jaw. This brought very pronounced relief in pain and the sensation of pressure he was feeling in the left side of his face. After the fifth session he was no longer feeling any pain to palpation in the vertebra in his back. He received a sixth session, this time with the 8.0 (Body), for about 5 minutes, emphasizing the upper back and neck, and nearly all the active and passive range of motion returned to his neck.
Upon examination now the face is normally sensitive to touch and palpation pressure, with no distinguishable difference between the left and right sides. In addition, vibration, even with deep goading, with a tuning fork is not sensitive, nor does it leave an “afterimage” as it had on initial examination. The face is no longer visibly swollen on the left side. This gentleman is elated and looking forward to his life and future again. From the initial session he felt very optimistic and hopeful, as hope was something he didn’t think he would ever have again.
Bert Rodriguez-Munnet, DC, Miami, FL