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Acupuncture for Trigeminal Neuralgia

Acupuncture Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia

You may have suffered chronic pain on your face. The pain is severe excruciating. It is a shooting pain and similar to an electric shock on your face.

Your doctor told you that you are having trigeminal neuralgia. 

So, What is Trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia is the pain of trigeminal nerve.

Trigeminal nerve is the nerve within the brain. It is responsible for the sensation of your face to brain, and the movement of bitting and chewing.

Face nerve pain - trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal nerve distributionTrigeminal nerve has three branches located on the face and response for the corresponding area (see the image).


Neuralgia means nerve pain. It is a severe pain. The pain can be stabbing, sharp, burning. Trigeminal neuralgia is one of the common nerve pain on face.


Trigeminal neuralgia is commonly affect middle aged or elderly patients. The common age of trigeminal neuralgia is 40 year old. Women suffers more than men. It is more common on the right hand side of face.

Main symptoms

The main symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia include:

  • Sudden onset of severe pain from one point on your face, mouth or jaw;
  • The pain is a cutting, burning, stabbing or electric shock-like pain;
  • Pain can be triggered by talking, eating, washing, or brushing teeth;
  • The pain normally lasts from a few seconds to a couple of minutes;
  • With the disease progressively getting worse, pain can be severer and the onset can be more frequent. There is less pain at night;

Because there is no sign before pain attacks, you may feel very anxious and be afraid of talking, brushing teeth, eating.

Other symptoms and signs

Your mouth may deviated to one side due to pain and spastic twitching of facial muscles. In the early stages of trigeminal neuralgia, it’s common to have flushed face, red eyes, teary and running nose.

Sometimes you may try to rub cheeks to ease the pain, by doing so you have rough skin on the face, and sparse eyebrow.

What causes my trigeminal neuralgia?

The exact cause is not known. It may caused by

  • Physical compression of the trigeminal nerve – inflammation or impairment of the nerve, or
  • Some underlying condition that affects the nerve

It could be a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve where it meets brainstem. Other causes including multiple sclerosis or tumor compressing the trigeminal nerve. It is not uncommon for people to have trigeminal neuralgia after some dental work on the teeth. 

Medical Treatment

If no underlying conditions are found your doctor may prescribe some drug for the pain. They are generally anti-convulsants.

Chinese medicine acupuncture for trigeminal neuralgia

Traditionally acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been used for facial pain. They offer an alternative natural approach for pain relief.

Chinese medicine explanation of trigeminal neuralgia

  • Exterior wind invasion
  • Internal wind
  • Qi and blood stagnation

What treatment involved?

Acupuncture – Traditional acupuncture or electro-acupuncture may used during your treatment.

Chinese herbal medicine – Depends on the severity of the pain,  and frequency of onset, your practitioner may suggest some Chinese herbs for you.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may help

  • Relieve pain – There are a few researches showed that acupuncture may reduce the pain from trigeminal neuralgia. Depends on the distribution of the nerve pain, we may choose different acupuncture points.
  • Improve energy and sleep;
  • Reduce emotional stress from and the cause of pain.

Is acupuncture painful on my face?

You rarely feel the pain. Sometime you may feel a little dull ache or slightly tingling sensation. It is actually relaxing.

Is acupuncture safe on may face?

If performed by well trained practitioner, there is rarely any adverse effect of acupuncture for trigeminal neuralgia.

We only single-used disposable needles at all time.

How many sessions and how frequent of acupuncture treatment do I need for trigeminal neuralgia?

It varies from different people. In our practice after a few sessions (average 5) many may have improvement already. The treatment usually start from twice per week for a couple of weeks. Once the pain is improving, we will reduce the treatment frequency to once per week or longer, until you are much better. 


Michelle C,etc. Acupuncture treatment for idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia: A longitudinal case-control double blinded study. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, November 2017, Volume 23, Issue 11, pp 829–836

Liu H, etc. A systematic review on acupuncture for trigeminal neuralgia, Altern Ther Health Med. 2010 Nov-Dec;16(6):30-5.

Tapan K, etc. Effect of Acupuncture in Trigeminal Neuralgia. Medical AcupunctureVol. 20, No. 4 ORIGINAL PAPERS

Your acupuncturist

Dr. Richard Zeng Acupuncturist

Dr. Richard Zeng (TCM)

Available at Coburg and Ringwood

Dr. Tracey Byrne (TCM)

Dr. Tracey Byrne (TCM)

Available at Coburg Clinic

Dr. Ruby Hou (TCM)

Dr. Ruby Hou (TCM)

Available at Ringwood clinic

Dr. Mira An TCM

Dr. Mira An (TCM)

Available at Ringwood clinic

Want fast pain relief for your facial pain?

Call 03 8802 1519 for an appointment now!


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