It was in the early 1990’s during my studies with doctors, JP Barral, John Upledger and then mentor, Frank Lowen, when I began identifying the neurological system and its electrical conduction in the body. Continuing with my studies, I learned more specificity with Sharon Weisselfish-Giammateo at the Integrated Manual Therapy Institute. Since that time, along with much more course work in this field, I have personally developed how to work with all 12 cranial nerves. For the purpose of this article, I will focus on the trigeminal nerve and how I have discovered one possible way to palpate and work with it; from the nucleus, to the ganglion and then each of the three nerve lines individually, (once it trifurcates at the ganglion).

I’m compelled to write this article, because I have read, “Trigeminal Neuralgia” is a disease. In my humble opinion, it is not a disease in the incurable sense, but as with any contraindication in the body, it is a dis-ease, within the body, and if addressed in a specific manner I have found, it can be worked with and often times, relief can be achieved.

Time and time again, in my practice, I have found trigeminal neuralgia to be more of a structural and cranial misalignment along with an ample amount of compression that creates pressure at and directly on the brain stem, cerebellum, and posterior temporal bones at the nucleus of the trigeminal nerve ‘s origination. When compression or entrapment occurs, like pressure on any nerve for a period of time, irritation, inflammation and an enormous amount of pain occurs.

Due to the large size of the trigeminal nerve (CN5), it’s three separate branches- (mandibular, maxillary and ophthalmic), as well as a rather large ganglion at the superior, anterior part of the ear, I usually find the pain pattern to be wide spread.

In my experience of working with an array of head pain, eye pain, tooth pain, numbness and concussions, et al., when CN5 is implicated anywhere along it’s nerve lines, the contraction or entrapment will have originated at the nucleus within the brain stem. It will either be impinged bi-laterally or uni-laterally, and continue to the trigeminal ganglia, which is located at the anterior level of the ear. From that ganglia, the nerve then splits into the three separate nerve branches, the ophthalmic, the maxillary, and the mandibular nerves, where contraction/entrapment may continue in one or more of these nerve lines as well.

The pressures created from the contraction or impingement of this complex cranial nerve manifest in many different ways. TMJ problems, migraines, extreme facial and head pain, eye problems, hearing disorders, are just a few.

Think about this, if you put an elastic band around your arm, eventually your arm would go numb and a throbbing pain would occur in a very short amount of time. Obviously, it is not a good idea to constrict any type of circulation, but I used this example to explain how the cranial nerves respond when they are compromised or constricted in a similar manner.

Common sense tells us that taking the elastic band off the arm would be the first logical step to allow the neural, vascular, lymphatic and fascial systems to be able to normalize again, lessening the compression and allowing circulation to come back, right?

However, to resolve the above complication, cutting the nerves within the arm to get relief is often a solution in western medicine and usually does not address the origination of the restriction, leaving the possibility of more of the same patterning to occur elsewhere in the body.

Much needed are alternative methods which can assist. At Hands That Hear You, Nina and I explore, focus and assist our clients in these alternative and non-invasive ways.

With the knowledge of specific anatomy, trained to hear the different systems in the body and the application of specific Osteopathic manual therapies, I have found it possible to assist the myelin sheath of the nerve to expand, thus regaining its ability for some of, if not all of its electrical conduction. As a result, in our practice, we have seen a reduction of nervous system irritations, pain and an overall ability for the nervous system to re-organize and stand a chance to normalize, once again.

On a side note, interestingly enough, I have also found the 7th cranial nerve, the facial nerve, to be affected as well, in trigeminal neuralgia pain.

In the body everything is connected. Yet, it must be free enough to move within itself and within the different systems. Neural mobility, myelin sheath flexibility and expansion are required for efficient neurological/electrical function to occur. When abnormal pressures are present, the electrical circuitry will be compromised and nervous system irritations occur. The spread of pain ensues until change occurs.

Chabot/Rizzo © 2016


If you or someone you know may be suffering from head pain or pressure, give us a call. We may be able to assist your body to help you feel better!