Craniosacral therapy helpful for trigeminal neuralgia
We must all face reality when the specialist regrets there is nothing more he can do.
And so it was for reader Bill Joel's 86-year-old mother from Vancouver, Canada, already on maximal therapy for that fearful lancinating electric shock pain of trigeminal neuralgia shooting through the side of her face several times a day. Besides generous doses of morphine she was taking the powerful painkiller Tylenol Extra and 3600mgs daily of Gabapentin.
Like any dutiful son, Mr Joel surfed the web where he found mention that an unusual form of manipulation of the head and lower spine, craniosacral therapy, might be of value. An appointment was duly booked. "I have no medical training,'' he writes, "but the practitioner, his methods and his textbook were quite extraordinarily unimpressive.''
Nonetheless this "odd gentleman with his odd ways achieved a minor miracle''. His mother's attacks ceased after just five sessions and she was able to discontinue all her medication except (on her neurologist's advice) the Gabapentin, though reduced to just 100mgs every other day.
It is, of course, difficult to know what to make of this other than to infer that perhaps Western medicine does not have all the answers. And, as if to emphasise the point, another reader, John Curr, describes a similar experience of being unexpectedly cured of the facial paralysis Bell's Palsy in a Soviet-era hospital in the Arctic Circle.
It happened when he was working at a chemical plant in Tomsk, Siberia (average daily winter temperature minus 20C). He was admitted to hospital where every six hours his nurse would apply a fresh piece of lint soaked in methylated spirits to the side of his face, held firmly in place with a tight bandage.
"The heat generated by the slowly evaporating meths into the nerve area behind the ear was quite significant,'' he recalls. The mainstream medical view would be that there is no specific treatment for Bell's Palsy, which, with luck, spontaneously resolves within six weeks. Mr Curr walked out, cured, from the Tomsk hospital ("rather crude in those days, but I was well looked after'') just five days after he was admitted.
James Le Fanu http://www.telegraph.co.uk
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