Problems with one of the larger nerves of the head, the trigeminal nerve, can result in a painful condition known as trigeminal neuralgia. This chronic disorder, which often appears in women over 50 years old, produces an unbearable facial pain. Relaxation exercises, such as meditation, can help relieve the stress and pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia. Consult your doctor before performing exercises that help relieve trigeminal nerve pain.
Trigeminal neuralgia affects the trigeminal nerve, the fifth cranial nerve that arises from the base of the brain, which produces sensations in your face, in addition to your jaw, lips, teeth and gums. Trigeminal neuralgia causes severe and sudden episodes of burning or throbbing pain in the face that can last up to two minutes and progresses in frequency and intensity over time. Certain actions such as washing your face, eating, drinking or talking can trigger these painful episodes. This very uncomfortable condition can originate from a blood vessel that presses your trigeminal nerve or emerges from disorders that affect the protective layer of your nerves. The co-author of "New Medicine: Complete Family Health Guide" David Peters says that reducing stress through relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, meditation and tai chi, can benefit people suffering from trigeminal neuralgia and others chronic pain disorders.
Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises designed to create a sense of peace and tranquility may help lessen the effects of stress on the chronic pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia. At the terminal the breathing exercises, inhale deeply through the nose so that your respiratory muscle, or diaphragm, moves towards your abdomen, pushing the stomach out, and exhale slowly through the mouth to move this muscle, and your stomach, back to its place. Also, relax your neck, shoulders, jaw and throat while you imagine that your breath fills the deepest parts of your lungs. Control your breathing by creating a wave pattern with easy and gentle breaths. Extend your exhalations for one or two seconds and pause after breathing to create a feeling of peace and tranquility.
Meditation techniques may also help reduce the pain and stress associated with trigeminal neuralgia. Transcendental meditation involves sitting in a quiet area and repeating a word or sound, called a mantra, over and over again. Begin a transcendental meditation exercise by sitting in a comfortable position, closing your eyes and relaxing all your muscles.Start with the muscles of your feet and go up your legs, torso, hands, arms, neck, face and head. Focus on your breathing and try to block other thoughts while repeating, for example, the word "one" in your mind each time you exhale. Continue this meditation process for 10 or 20 minutes and sit quietly for a short time with your eyes closed. To help promote relaxation, meditate daily, but wait two hours after eating.
Tai Chi, which promotes relaxation through gentle movements, can relieve the pain of trigeminal neuralgia. In addition to relieving stress, this ancient Chinese exercise can reduce chronic pain and improve your sense of well-being, according to Mayo Clinic. Tai Chi, an exercise that you can do at your own pace and that involves performing a sequence of postures, creates a flow of graceful and constant movement. Although there are several forms of exercise, all methods give a sense of calm and inner peace through completing series of movements in harmony with your breathing. Regardless of your age or physical ability, you can find a type of Tai Chi that meets your needs. To start a program in this discipline, find a qualified instructor at your local YMCA, senior center or health club. An experienced instructor can help ensure optimum health benefits and avoid injuries.