Neuropathic pain can be very difficult to bear and treat. Medicines offer only moderate relief and a ton of side effects. Fortunately though, Aromatherapy is a precious ally in soothing all types of pain. Find out how to improve your life quality with essential oils for trigeminal neuralgia.
In this post, you’ll be reading about:
- The way essential oils can help you get relief from trigeminal neuralgia pain.
- The pros and cons of some of the best anti-inflammatory and analgesic aromatic oils. Check out what some studies have to say about their effects. This’ll help you find the most appropriate essence for your pain.
- The best way to use these essential oils for an inflamed nerve in the face.
- A few pain-relieving recipes for neuropathy and neuralgia with essential oils.
- Causes and symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia and other types of nerve pain. Learn the difference between them to find a better treatment. In doing so, you’ll also find ways to improve your life quality.
Best Essential Oils for Trigeminal Neuralgia, plus Recipes
When it comes to nerve pain, there are many different causes and disease names. They are all nonetheless, very painful and hard to treat. Trigeminal neuralgia is one of today’s most researched disease/syndrome. Even though it’s easier to manage, there is no definitive cure yet.
First of all, let’s define a few basic terms. As per the Medical-Dictionary:
Neuralgia = an intense burning or stabbing pain that’s caused by damage or irritation to a nerve. There are brief but severe episodes of pain that are felt along the affected nerve. The reason why that nerve has been damaged can tell you the type of neuralgia you suffer from. For example, it can be tooth decay or shingles.
Neuropathy = disturbances and pathologic changes, or non-inflammatory lesions in the peripheral nervous system. It’s a general term used to describe any disorder that affects any part of the nervous system. Today, this general term is often used to describe diseases that affect the cranial nerves or the peripheral nervous system. The latter describes the part of nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord.
Trigeminal neuralgia is when a person feels chronic pain from the affected trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is the 5th cranial nerve (CN5). This nerve splits into 3 different smaller nerves to cover 3 areas: the forehead, cheeks and jaw.
CN5 helps with sensation in different face and scalp areas. It also helps with some movements performed by the jaw, head and nose. However, most movements in these areas are controlled by CN7 – Cranial Nerve 7, or facial nerve.
If the sharp pain is felt when you move parts of the face and head, it’s most likely damage to CN7. If stabbing pain is felt to touch, then CN5 is more likely to be damaged. More about the Trigeminal Nerve in the last part of the article.
How Can Essential Oils Help with Neuralgia?
First of all, essential oils are CAM (complementary and alternative medicines). They make Aromatherapy one of the most popular alternative therapies.
These aromatic oils are very concentrated plant extracts. In terms of strength, they are between herbal teas and tinctures and medicines. Many medical professionals and studies consider these essences a lot safer than medicines.
There are fewer side effects to Aromatherapy and a lot more benefits. Aromatic oils act on many levels: psychological, emotional and physical.
Their mechanism of action differs with each type of oil. Many oils can lead to the same health benefits, but the pathway is different.
That is also why viruses can’t really develop resistance to essential oils. They’re being attacked from many directions, in many different ways.
Plants produce these oil molecules to protect themselves from predators or UV light. Predators can be insects that feed on them or even herbivores. They emit strong, foul odors to keep them at a distance.
These oils can also give them a very bitter taste, which is not appealing to animals. Plant oil molecules can also help them spread their seeds by attracting pollinators.
People found ways to extract these “plant immune systems” and use them to their benefits. When it comes to pain, the best oils to use need to be:
- Anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the main cause of pain. The tissue swells and becomes tender and painful. It can constrict blood vessels and nerves, which translates to that stabbing pain.
- Analgesic or pain-relieving. Essential oils can override pain signals by numbing the pain receptors. They can send a different signal to the brain and relieve pain.
- Antispasmodic. This beneficial effect refers to the ability to calm down spasms and throbbing. Severe pain and inflammation lead to throbbing nerves/blood vessels. Some oils are better at soothing spasms than others.
- Nervine. This effect means the plant oil can affect the nervous system in some way. An essence can either relax the body and mind and induce sleep, or relieve pain and anxiety feelings, etc.
- Circulatory. There are many essential oils for trigeminal neuralgia that improve blood flow to the affected area. More blood means more oxygen and nutrients that can speed up recovery.
- Diuretic. Some aromatic oils also promote better toxin and water elimination. Edemas may also put pressure on sensitive nerves and cause pain.
- Relaxant. Stress is one of the main causes for a lot of today’s diseases. Neuralgia can also be triggered by chronic stress, depression and/or anxiety. Aromatherapy has been proven useful in relieving many of these symptoms.
- Regenerative. This ability makes an aromatic essence helpful in stimulating nerve regeneration. Chronic inflammation causes scar tissue and damage.
Luckily, most essential oils have these properties. Some are stronger anti-inflammatory agents. Others are better at relieving anxiety and elevated heart rate. Various combinations of essential oils for neuralgia can make effective soothing treatments.
Some of the best oils for inflamed nerves and face pain are Roman Chamomile, Clove bud and Helichrysum. Let’s see why:
1) Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Botanical name: Chamaemelum nobile (old: Anthemis nobilis)
- Treating neuralgia symptoms can be very difficult and complex. Still, natural remedies often get you the relief you need where medicines have failed. Roman Chamomile oil is a very good pain reliever. It is rich in isobutyl angelate, a very good antispasmodic. This gives the oil the ability to calm down muscle contractions, thus the pain too.
- Roman Chamomile oil for Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) is very relaxing and soothing. It acts on the nervous system, relieving anxiety and promoting sleep.
- The oil of Roman Chamomile can also improve circulation. This makes it a good anti-inflammatory agent too.
- An overdose of Roman Chamomile essential oil can cause drowsiness or vertigo.
- A strong dose can also increase the risk of a seizure or epilepsy attack.
- Diffuse this oil with others, with lighter viscosity.
Why I like it:
Roman Chamomile is great for almost all age categories, as long as it’s used in small amounts. Luckily, there’s no need for large amounts of oil to work its magic. It can be used in skin care or for emotional support. You can use Chamomile essential oil for pinched nerves and face pain of all sorts.
2) Clove Bud Essential Oil
Botanical name: Eugenia caryophylatta.
- Clove essential oil has pain-relieving and anesthetic effects. They make Clove a good essential oil for trigeminal neuralgia. Clove bud oil is thought to act like lidocaine, a local anesthetic. This study supports its beneficial effects on pain in the trigeminal nerve.
- Clove is very high in eugenol. It’s a molecule with antifungal, anti-allergic and antioxidant effects.
- It can also reduce pain and inflammation, and calm down muscle spasms.
- Clove bud oil can irritate or burn the eyes, nose and other mucus membranes. You should always avoid these areas and always dilute it for topical application.
- Avoid using this essential oil for trigeminal neuralgia if you’re on anticoagulant medication.
- Clove can raise the blood pressure.
- If used in large quantities or on long periods of time, it can be toxic for the liver.
Why I like it:
Clove bud is one of the soothing oils for trigeminal neuralgia. It is also one of the best essential oils for inflamed nerves in the face. That is why it’s so popular in dentistry. This means you can use Clove essential oil for TMJ pain or jaw pain too.
3) Helichrysum Essential Oil
Botanical name: Helichrysum italicum.
- Helichrysum or Immortelle is an exceptional essential oil for neuralgia. It has good anti-edema and anti-inflammatory effects. This means that the oil of Immortelle can limit the pressure that edema puts on the cranial nerve no. 5.
- Helichrysum can help the inflamed or pinched nerve to recover by preventing hematomas. It can also improve the blood circulation and prevent hemorrhage.
- Last but not least, Immortelle essential oil also has antispasmodic effects.
- Diffuse the oil only on small periods of time and in small amounts. Helichrysum has cortisone-like effects. It’s good as pain reliever, but it can interact with certain medications.
- Avoid its use with anticoagulant medications or in case of heavy periods.
Why I like it:
Helichrysum is the essential oil for all kinds of pains and aches. It is especially good at speeding up tissue healing in deep, throbbing wounds. It’s a great addition in all your essential oil recipes for neuralgia. It can also deal with acne and wrinkles, among others.
Other essential oils for trigeminal neuralgia and jaw pain:
Peppermint – You can use Peppermint oil for trigeminal neuralgia because it’s a great analgesic. Its menthol concentration relieves pain by blocking calcium channels. That is also why the oil gives that cooling sensation. Using Peppermint oil for pain relief can also soothe spasms and inflammation.
Frankincense – This essence is excellent at relieving anxiety, depression and insomnia. Frankincense oil for trigeminal neuralgia can also boost the immune system. On top of this, it can also relieve inflammation. Frankincense is also antispasmodic. Thus, it calms down muscle spasms caused by inflammation that can take away some of the pressure on the nerves.
Lavandin – This essential oil has a local anesthetic effect, because of its linalool content. It acts directly on the nervous system and calms down pain. Lavandin can also boost the immune system and relieve inflammation.
Oregano – If you want to use the oil of Oregano for trigeminal nerve, you can. But it is not as good an anti-inflammatory as others. It can however, stimulate the immune system and the body, and prevent infections.
PanAway – this blend of essential oils from Young Living could also help with your neuralgia. The blend contains Wintergreen, Peppermint, Helichrysum and Clove. These oils make PanAway good for neuralgia and other jaw problems.
Stress Away – Also from Young Living, if you’re a fan, the Stress Away blend could help you feel more relaxed. This mix of oils is more for fragrance and well-being than for the actual pain. Stress Away oil blend for trigeminal pain may work well to prevent flare ups. That would be possible by eliminating stress factors. It contains Copaiba, Lime, Vanilla and Lavender, among others.
More good essential oils for trigeminal neuralgia:
- Sweet Birch
- Ylang Ylang
- Lemon Eucalyptus
- Litsea Cubeba
- Sweet Orange
Capsaicin for trigeminal neuralgia –
The treatment of neuropathic pain poses a lot of difficulty. Because of that, many researchers studied the effects of capsaicinoids. Capsaicin is a spicy substance extracted from chili peppers. It has many proven benefits. One of them is its analgesic (pain-relieving) effects.
The way capsaicin works:
- First, the skin area where it was applied gets sensitized. This sensitization however, lasts a few seconds only.
- Right after sensitizing the skin, capsaicin desensitizes the local pain nerves. This stage lasts a long time and gives the substance analgesic properties.
This means that if you want, you can use capsaicin for trigeminal neuralgia. The study that proved good local analgesic effects used 8% capsaicin patches. The patch produced pain relief after the first application.
Still, patches can’t really be applied on face and hair. There are many hot pepper extracts or seed oils available, but it’s not easy to find them. Maybe it’s because the oil is not really popular in Aromatherapy.
You could make your own capsaicin oil by infusing good quality vegetable oil. You can check out the method here. Unfortunately though, there’s no way of telling how much capsaicin is in your macerate.
If you really want to, you could send it to a lab for analysis. They’ll use modern methods which measure the amount in parts per million (ppm). The highest in capsaicin seems to be the Moruga Scorpion hot pepper. It’s followed by the habanero and jalapeno.
10 milligrams of capsaicin per kilogram of peppers is a very strong concentration. It produces a long-lasting burning sensation on the tongue and skin.
This source revealed that daily topical application of capsaicin, 4 times a day, can reduce pain intensity for up to 20 weeks. The study was performed on patients with osteoarthritis.
How to Use Essential Oils for Trigeminal Neuralgia
Essential oils, especially the ones for neuralgia are very potent substances. If they’re applied pure, they can irritate, burn or sensitize the skin. That’s why they must always be diluted with carrier oils.
Even if nothing happens after the first few applications, using them undiluted on a longer term, can lead to sensitization. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to desensitize the affected area. It’ll always continue to react to that specific oil or others with similar chemical profiles.
You can make blends of carrier oils and essential oils for trigeminal neuralgia. The amount should vary depending on pain intensity.
You should start with a low dose: 6 drops of EO per Oz carrier oil. You can increase the dose progressively and watch how you feel.
Always keep in mind the precautions of each oil and use moderate amounts only. Massage it well into the cheeks, jaw, temples and forehead. The blend can also be applied down the neck, shoulders and spine.
Some French sources believe that the erratic behavior of the TN can sometimes be relieved and soothed with hot & cold compresses.
Thus, they recommend alternating between hot & cold compresses on the painful area. You could fill a resealable sandwich bag with ice cubes and keep it in place for 3 minutes.
Heat a moist towel for 3 minutes in the microwave. Apply it on the same spot until it starts to cool down. Repeat each action until the pain subsides.
You can also use only hot compresses for face pain and damaged nerves. Heat is known to be a good pain reliever. Keep a hot compress on the painful area for 30 minutes or until the pain subsides.
Diffusion and inhalation can also help with trigeminal nerve pain. Depending on the type of your Aroma difuser and space, you can use 5 – 15 drops of essential oils. Nebulizers ensure the best diffusion and maintain the oil properties intact.
Cranial Massage Tips
Think of these tips as exercises to relieve some of the trigeminal neuralgia pain:
- Use a bit of a neuropathy blend and put gentle pressure on specific junction points. The skull (cranial box) has many different bone junctions. You can usually find them by following the pain pathway. Press on them lightly, with small circle movements to feel relief.
- If you use an essential oil recipe for trigeminal neuralgia, keep your eyes closed. Aromatic oils can irritate your eyes. This is especially true for Peppermint oil and other cooling oils. You can open them a few minutes after the massage is done.
- You can also alternate this head massage with cold and/or hot compresses.
This being said, let’s move on to some simple essential oil blends to try to treat neuralgia. You must keep in mind though that pain feels differently for everyone.
Some have a bigger tolerance, while others don’t. Essential oils for trigeminal neuralgia usually work fast. But it takes some adjusting to their way of action.
Essential Oil Recipes for Trigeminal Neuralgia
If you’re looking for ways on how to treat trigeminal neuralgia naturally, these blends will help you. Once you’ve found out the cause of your pain, you can decide which blend would work better.
If you suffer from diabetes or epilepsy, you should talk to your doctor first. A specialized doctor will know the right dose of oils for you. This is usually given after a thorough medical consultation. The age and gender also play an important part in this process.
Do not take essential oils internally, without talking to a doctor first! Otherwise, for moderate pain relief, on short periods of time, you can use Aromatherapy blends.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Crisis Aroma Recipe
- Helichrysum essential oil: 3 drops
- Roman Chamomile essential oil: 3 drops
- Lavandin essential oil: 3 drops
- Black seed oil (Nigella): 1 Oz (30 mL)
Mix all these oils together and shake the blend well before each use. Apply a small amount on the painful area and around it, 3 – 5 times during the day the pain hits.
Essential Oils Recipe for Neuropathy
- Wintergreen essential oil: 2 drops
- Helichrysum essential oil: 3 drops
- Peppermint essential oil: 3 drops
- Tamanu oil: 1 Oz (30 ml)
Apply 3 – 5 times a day, when the pain is most intense. Apply less in the following week. Make sure to change the blends every month to avoid the skin getting used to the oils.
Concentrated Pain Relief for Trigeminal Neuralgia Recipe
- Roman Chamomile essential oil: 20 drops
- Clove Bud essential oil: 20 drops
- Helichrysum essential oil: 20 drops
Mix these amounts in an empty dark glass bottle. Mix 3 – 5 drops of it with a teaspoon of carrier oil. It can be Olive oil, Almond, Jojoba, etc. The best carriers though, are also anti-inflammatory (Olive, Tamanu, Hemp, etc.). Apply with gentle pressure movements on the painful area, along the nerve.
You can also use a few drops in a good nebullizer. Diffuse for 30 minutes at the most, in a well-ventilated room.
Hot Compress to Relieve Face Pain
- Soft cloth
- Clove bud essential oil: 2 drops
Moist the compress with very hot water or moist it slightly and put it in the microwave for 2 – 3 minutes. Apply 2 drops of Clove oil for trigeminal neuralgia. Keep the compress tight on the painful area for as long as possible. Repeat if necessary.
Understanding the Trigeminal Nerve Pain
I told you about the two cranial nerves that may cause trigeminal neuralgia. CN5 – the trigeminal nerve and CN7 – the facial nerve. These two are often confused one with the other.
Our face is innervated (supplied with nerves) by 12 pairs of cranial nerves. CN5 supplies almost all the face with nerves. They extend to the forehead and eyes, cheeks and upper lip and chin, jaw and lower lip.
Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Stabbing and violent pain along the affected nerve(s). This pain is usually felt on one part of the face, the affected one. At first, the pain may be short-lived (a few seconds). As the affection progresses, the episodes become more frequent and more intense. Between crises there’s usually no pain. Each crisis may last hours, days, weeks and even years.
- Extra sensitivity to light.
Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure what causes this disease/syndrome. There are however, many hypotheses.
- Age and gender. It is more likely to suffer from TN after the age of 50. Also, women appear to be more affected by TN than men are.
- Multiple sclerosis is thought to cause a small percentage of face neuralgia.
- Trigger factors. They can be eating, brushing hair or teeth, smiling, laughing, alcohol, coffee, etc.
- Face muscle contraction. It may look like a grimace or a tic. Face neuralgia is also called painful tic (French “tic douloureux”).
- Teeth grinding.
TMJ is one of the most common jaw disorders. It happens when the joint of the jaw is damaged in some way. This leads to inflammation and pressure on the nerves.
Some of the best essential oils for TMJ and jaw pain are:
- Clary Sage
- Sweet Marjoram
- Clove bud
If you’re a doTERRA fan and looking for TMJ essential oil blends, I can recommend the Deep Blue blend. It contains Wintergreen, Camphor, Peppermint, Helichrysum, Ylang Ylang and Chamomile.
They’re all good anti-inflammatory and pain relieving doTERRA essential oils for TMJ. You can read more about the blend in my in-depth review here.
As you can see, there are many aromatic oils that can help with nerve pain. The one you choose will have to depend on the cause of the damage/pain.
Although there’s no definitive cure for trigeminal neuralgia, there are lots of natural remedies that can soothe the pain. Essential oils make great allies in managing stress levels, anxiety and depression. These are known trigger factors.
Essential oils for trigeminal neuralgia are also good at relieving pain and inflammation. They can improve your quality of life and help you manage this painful condition better.
How have you dealt with the pain so far? Have you tried any aromatic oils to get relief from neuralgia? If you have any tips or recipes that worked for you, I’m sure there are lots of people who’d appreciate knowing them.