Trigeminal Neuralgia

Following a routine dental cleaning in June, I developed an occasional ache in the left side of my jaw. I dismissed it, as I had had x-rays taken and no cavities were found. I assumed she had bumped something during the cleaning and that it would heal up on its own. Over the following weeks, I found myself waking to a piercing pain in my jaw and would need to get up and go downstairs and rest in Samantha’s empty bedroom.

In the middle of July, Andrew and I took a trip up to the Northshore. I was perfectly fine while we were hiking, but when we returned to the cabin to rest, I found myself in excruciating pain. The nerve in my jaw felt as if it was being repeatedly sliced with a steady, slow knife. I could not sit down, and laying down added fiery burning to the cutting of the knife-like pain.

We learned that I had a case of trigeminal neuralgia (a.k.a. suicide disease). It’s not a deadly disease, but it is debilitating in the pain it causes. I could not sleep at all. I spent the night pacing the room or soaking in the tub while researching my options. I was awake for three solid days before I stumbled upon my 10 dollar miracle cure on YouTube while soaking in said tub. Andrew went to the store that night to buy our makeshift supplies: olive oil, cayenne powder, and ace bandages. We made a paste out of the oil and cayenne and slathered it on the bandage which I slid against my throbbing jaw which I held in place for 30 minutes. The cayenne didn’t hurt as the pain in my jaw was so intense. I slept for 4 hours straight that first night. I kept it up for the next 3 days, about every couple hours until the pain left for good. I did burn myself, and don’t recommend that anyone apply the poultice that frequently. The video recommends once a day! The scientist who made the video had been living with TN for 7 years when he (and maybe a partner) discovered that capsicum could cure trigeminal neuralgia. As of the recording of the video he has been symptom free for 5 years. It’s such a simple, inexpensive cure that should be ubiquitous. It works. And, I cannot believe that physicians are not using it en masse.

So, now you know. Please share. :


Twelve informed and consenting patients were studied to determine the influence of capsaicin, the pungent component of the red pepper, on trigeminal neuralgia. All of these patients had idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia. These patients were followed up for 1 yr after the topical application over the painful area of 1.0 g of capsaicin three times a day for several days. Six patients had complete and four patients had partial relief of pain; the remaining two patients had no relief of pain. Of the 10 patients who were responsive to therapy, four had relapses of pain in 95-149 days. There were no relapses following the second therapy for the remainder of the year. We conclude that the topical application of capsaicin is frequently successful in relieving the pain from trigeminal neuralgia.

The happy hike before the pain ensued.

5 thoughts on “Trigeminal Neuralgia”

  1. Dorothy Mortimore

    I am so thankful for this post and your blog. I have been experiencing TN and was prescribed Neurontin with absolutely NO relief; in fact it worsened and I cannot eat or speak. I am definitely going to try this. At this point I do not feel as if I have anything to lose. Thank you.

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