Temporomandibular Disorder versus Trigeminal Neuralgia

In this video, I am demonstrating the application of Myofascial Dry Needling (MDN) to reduce chronic and persistent pain from idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia.

An MRI is required to diagnose trigeminal neuralgia. So I am giving my condition a new name: idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia.

The MDN treatment involves the insertion of a thin metal filament into the muscle spindle of the muscle belly of the masseter, which is bordered by the zygomatic arch, and the ramus and coronoid process of the mandible.

The difference between temporomandibular disorder and trigeminal neuralgia is that the former is biomechanical, whereas the latter is neuropathic.

Temporomandibular Disorder

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is defined as a biomechanical problem involving the disc articulation between the mandible and the temporal area of the skull.

The physical assessment for TMD is the three knuckle test. If you can fit more than 3 fingers in your mouth, then you do not have TMD.

The symptoms of TMD are:

  • Neck pain near your ear
  • Clicking, crackling or crunching sensations in your jaw on one or both sides
  • Locking of your jaw
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Frequent headaches
  • Jaw muscle spasm

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a neurological condition that affects the trigeminal nerve.

The trigeminal nerve is the nerve that supplies sensation to your face and controls some of the muscles involved in chewing.

Structural thickening of myofascia can cause compression and irritation of the trigeminal nerve, leading to facial pain or spasm.

The symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia are:

  • Sharp, electric-like pain in one side of your face, cheek or jaw
  • Tooth pain on one side
  • Pain just in front of one ear
  • Abnormal sensation, like numbness or tingling, in one side of your face

Post-treatment Neuromuscular Facilitation

The post-treatment neuromuscular activation technique involves:

  • Protraction of the mandible while applying MFTT to the masseter
  • Jaw and cervical mobilisation