Can Cryoanalgesia Alleviate Trigeminal Neuralgia Pain?

When you suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, your only concern is making the pain stop. There are a variety of treatment options —such as medication and surgery— that work with varying degrees of success. However, if you're looking for something that will provide long-lasting relief without requiring you to go under the knife, then consider undergoing a cryoanalgesia treatment. Here's more information about this option.

Freezing Out Pain

Cryoanalgesia, also called cryoneurolysis, is a medical procedure that uses extreme cold to stop nerves from sending pain signals. The treatment involves inserting a small needle into the affected area and bathing the targeted nerves in either nitrous oxide or liquid nitrogen. This causes controlled damage to the nerves that essentially severs their ability to communicate pain to the brain.

The treatment has been around for centuries and is used to treat a variety of conditions that cause chronic pain, including back and abdominal injuries. However, studies indicate it can be very effective at eliminating trigeminal neuralgia pain for up to 20 months. One benefit to this treatment (which may also be seen as a negative), is the treatment doesn't destroy the nerves. Eventually, the nerves do repair themselves, but patients were able to enjoy sensations in their faces for a while before the pain returned.

Benefits and Disadvantages

This procedure has the potential to eliminate the need to take pain and other medication to alleviate your suffering. Although effective, there's no denying prescription drugs can cause side effects, especially when they're taken over long periods of time. Thus, cryoanalgesia can save you this suffering and possibly some money. Additionally, this procedure can help you avoid surgery that may result in scarring or permanent damage to the nerves.

However, cryoanalgesia is not without risks. It can cause bruising, numbness, and swelling at the injection site. More concerning, reducing pain signals in this manner also comes with the risk of reducing muscle control, since the brain also sends other important messages to the body through the nerves. This means it's possible you may have difficulty controlling the muscles in the treated area and your appearance may suffer somewhat, though you may be able to overcome this with physical therapy.

As noted previous, the nerves eventually repair themselves, so the pain will return. Thus, you'll need to get the treatment redone periodically to continue enjoying the benefits.

To learn more about cryoanalgesia or to schedule an appointment for treatment, contact your healthcare provider.