Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is an uncommon but debilitating head pain condition stemming from irritation or inflammation of the trigeminal nerve in your upper spine.

Conventional treatments include anti-inflammatory meds and pain blockers, but upper cervical chiropractic may treat the underlying cause of TN.

Dr. Ty Carzoli is the best chiropractor in Colorado for trigeminal neuralgia. Schedule an appointment with Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractor today! We reserve Fridays for traveling patients.

Effective Treatments for Trigeminal Neuralgia

Also called tic douloureux, trigeminal neuralgia can be treated by precise chiropractic care, targeted medication, and surgery (in severe cases). Lifestyle changes may be implemented to prevent flare-ups or reduce your risk of worsening TN overall.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic

Upper cervical chiropractic focuses on the upper two vertebrae of the spine: the atlas (C1) and the axis (C2). Reducing spinal cord tension and aligning these upper vertebrae in your neck helps with all sorts of chronic pain syndromes, including trigeminal neuralgia pain management.

Chiropractic care may reduce inflammation directly or indirectly impacting the trigeminal nerve. Take the pressure off the nerve, and pain relief will follow. Chiropractic can resolve face and neck pain while giving you back your quality of life.

If upper cervical chiropractic doesn’t resolve your issue, we can refer you to a surgeon — although this is a last resort, since surgery severs nerves instead of addressing the root cause.


The anticonvulsant medication, carbamazepine, is the conventional first-line treatment for TN, despite its side effects and danger to individuals of Asian descent.

Anti-inflammatories can help lower inflammation that may cause trigeminal irritation. These meds come with adverse side effects like indigestion, headaches, and birth defects in the kidneys. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may lose their efficacy over time.

Opioids can reduce your pain symptoms, although these potentially addictive drugs don’t address the underlying cause of your trigeminal pain.

Botox injections can dull the facial pain, although this medical injection is not a treatment option that addresses the root cause.

Lifestyle Changes

Certain lifestyle changes can prevent trigeminal neuralgia flare-ups, such as not touching your face. Any sensation against your face can cause TN pain.

Simple lifestyle changes to avoid triggering neuralgic pain include:

  • Learn which side of your mouth to chew on. 
  • Practice gently brushing your teeth. 
  • Avoid being outside on windy days.

You can also adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet, which may reduce irritation of the trigeminal nerve. Avoid processed foods and extra-hot foods, but eat plenty of healthy fats and leafy greens.

Did you know that most chiropractors give dietary advice to support their clients’ holistic health? Talk to your chiropractor about the healthiest diet for your unique situation.


There are multiple surgical treatments which help reduce your trigeminal neuralgia pain. Most surgical interventions sever the nerve to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain, but the underlying cause of trigeminal dysfunction is left unaddressed.

Trigeminal neuralgia surgeries include:

  • Microvascular decompression — A neurosurgeon relocates or removes blood vessels that may be irritating the trigeminal nerve. Potential side effects include facial numbness, reduced hearing, or a stroke in rare cases.
  • Rhizotomy — This surgery destroys trigeminal nerve fibers to prevent pain signals. It can be achieved via a glycerol injection into your trigeminal nerve, balloon compression of the nerve, or radiofrequency ablation at the point where the nerve enters the brainstem.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery — This outpatient surgical option requires no cuts or anesthesia. Also called gamma knife radiation, it uses gamma rays to damage the trigeminal nerve, preventing pain signals from reaching the brain.
  • Peripheral nerve stimulation — A surgeon places electrodes along the peripheral nerves (not the trigeminal nerve) to regulate pain signals.

What causes trigeminal neuralgia?

The root cause of trigeminal neuralgia is irritation or inflammation of the trigeminal nerve — the fifth cranial nerve and the largest of the twelve. 

There are several factors that may cause irritation or inflammation of the trigeminal nerve:

  • Spinal misalignment compressing the nerve
  • Blood vessel abnormalities
  • Tumor pressing into the nerve
  • Severe systemic inflammation
  • Surgery injury
  • Facial injury
  • Neck injury
  • Brain lesion
  • Stroke

The following activities cause trigeminal neuralgia flare-ups:

  • Touching your face
  • Face injury
  • Eating, drinking
  • Speaking
  • Smiling
  • Brushing your teeth, flossing
  • Washing your face
  • Strong wind against your cheek

Diagnosing Trigeminal Neuralgia

Your doctor will diagnose your trigeminal neuralgia with a physical examination, a medical history, and ruling out other conditions. In some cases, imaging tests like an MRI may be used.

The physical examination may include pressing against parts of your face to identify the origin of your pain.

Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history, family history, and the symptoms you’ve been experiencing. 

What are the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia? Here are the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia that your doctor may look for:

  • Severe, stabbing pain on one side of the face
  • Numbness, burning, or tingling around the cheek or jaw
  • Sudden pain after chewing, talking, smiling, or touching your face
  • Pain duration of a few seconds to several minutes

Below are the common conditions which a doctor may rule out to help diagnose trigeminal neuralgia:

If you’re looking for a medical professional to diagnose your trigeminal neuralgia without questioning your own experiences, Dr. Ty Carzoli of Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic listens to and respects his patients.

Read Dr. Ty’s blog posts about trigeminal neuralgia:


Trigeminal neuralgia flare-ups typically last up to 2 minutes. In severe cases, episodes of trigeminal neuralgia pain may last for hours, days, weeks, or months. TN may go into remission, disappearing completely for months or years.

An inflamed trigeminal nerve may repair itself with time, but it’s wise to seek medical attention. Chiropractic care may address the underlying cause of TN pain with pain-free spine adjustments. Pharmaceuticals or even surgery may be necessary to deaden the pain in rare cases.

If left untreated, trigeminal neuralgia may get progressively worse, with attacks lasting longer and feeling more painful. Medication will likely be less effective as trigeminal neuralgia worsens.

Stress can aggravate trigeminal neuralgia although it isn’t a direct cause. Chronic stress contributes to systemic inflammation, which may impact your trigeminal nerve health. Stress has been associated with both blocking pain and worsening pain.

An anti-inflammatory diet should decrease your risk of trigeminal nerve pain. On an anti-inflammatory diet plan, eat leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, tomatoes, and fruits that are high in antioxidants.

Here are some inflammatory foods that you should avoid to prevent trigeminal pain:

  • Spicy foods
  • Added sugar
  • Saturated fats
  • Processed foods
  • Caffeine (found in coffee, soda, chocolate, etc.)

The trigeminal nerve is the 5th cranial nerve. Divided into 3 primary branches, its main function is sensing pain, touch, and temperature on your face. It is the largest of the 12 cranial nerves.

Requiring no cuts or anesthetic, stereotactic radiosurgery is a pretty new surgery that deliberately damages the trigeminal nerve.

Instead of deadening the pain by severing nerves, consider chiropractic care to treat the underlying cause without surgery. More and more people like you are discovering chiropractic care for trigeminal neuralgia treatment.

David FordDavid Ford
22:43 27 Mar 24
Hands down, the best chiropractic treatment I’ve ever experienced. Dr. Ty is in a league of his own…..literally. I’ve recently moved to another state and there isn’t a single chiropractor in my state that uses his techniques and skills. For almost 30 years I’ve suffered with numbness in my left hand, extreme tenderness in my neck and traps, dizziness, balance issues, neurological tremors in my right hand and I couldn’t sleep for more than six hours without waking and feeling exhausted and foggy. After a short three months, I’m symptom free, and I feel ten years younger! I look forward to continued healing and improved health. I trust Dr. Ty so much that I frequently drive 13 hours to get maintenance adjustments. Also, a big hug and thank you to Zyle. The best office manager in healthcare. She made me feel welcome from the initial intake phone call and thereafter has treated me like a dear friend. Thank you Dr. Ty and Zyle for investing in my health!
Jake AntonJake Anton
22:22 20 Mar 24
Seemingly seeing some results with these guys working on my post concussion syndrome. Certainly more than I can say about other treatment pathways I’ve pursued. Highly recommend reaching out to anyone considering it. Nice people nice place & it feels good getting adjusted 👍
Becca DawsonBecca Dawson
23:57 21 Dec 23
Ty and Zyle are so sweet and so nice. The service is amazing, my neck and back feel so much better! They also have lifting sessions to help make sure you’re lifting properly and safely and that’s really helped my powerlifting workouts! I reccomend them to anyone I talk to that is looking for a chiropractor or is having neck issues.
20:58 07 Nov 23
Dr. Ty and Zyle are fantastic! Zyle is so kind and accommodating. Dr. Ty took the time to hear about my injuries and complete a full evaluation. He explained his approach and next steps in an easy, understandable way. The adjustments are gentle and I love using the relaxation room at the end of appointments. I’ve noticed great improvements since coming to Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic. Thank you Dr. Ty and Zyle!
Amanda DeanAmanda Dean
16:31 04 Nov 23
Long term drug free pain reliefDr. Ty and Zyle helped me through one of the most difficult periods of my life. I’ve struggled with upper back pain, tension headaches, ocular migraines and visual snow syndrome for most of my life. I had recently broken up with my ex and left a bad situation. From the first day I met Dr. Ty and Zyle, they were welcoming, empathetic and made me feel like we were already friends. They provide whole body care. They made sure I was regularly socializing and doing activities outside of my house. Dr. Ty works one on one with you to develop a customized care plan and explained pricing clearly. They cured my back pain. I do choose to go back every 2 months for “maintenance” adjustments.
Morisson ButlerMorisson Butler
22:20 01 Nov 23
This facility is AWESOME!!!! Great people, great vibe, amazing resistance program!!!! I am a 50 plus Jiu Jitsu black belt and Ty is the BEST 🙂 They LIVE what they prescribe. DUCC is my go to recommendation for my athletes 15 to 60.
Diane MillerDiane Miller
17:28 16 Oct 23
Been struggling with a lot of pain for about 6 years. It all started from a crossfit injury that happened 6 years ago and a very minor whiplash accident that happened 15 years ago. I’ve had headaches, pain from my left side of my face, neck and jaw down to my shoulder, scapula and lower back. 8 months ago, I started feeling dizzy, off balanced, felt like I was on a boat 90% of the time, my right ear started ringing, my head felt so heavy that I couldn’t sit for more than 10 mins. Doctors thought it was vertigo, but it wasn’t. Went to see an ENT doctor but didn’t find anything. Tried physical therapy, dry needling, acupuncture, massage therapy but showed no improvement. Before I found Dr. Ty, I went to a regular chiropractor, spent thousands of dollars, did 25 adjustments that include cracking, popping and twisting of the neck, ouch!! 10 trigger point lidocaine injections combined with physical therapy and stretching exercises but it did nothing for me and just made my condition and pain even worse. It was a nightmare! All they found from the xray was spinal degeneration on my C4 and C5. They couldn’t figure out why the adjustments were not working for me and even suggested to get bloodwork done, thinking maybe I have some parasite in my body that’s causing all of my symptoms.That made me realize they had no idea what they were doing and led me to DUCC. Called DUCC and talked to Zyle, the office manager. She was so helpful, patient and friendly. I was so impressed how well she explained the consultation and evaluation process and what exactly they do. She made me feel at ease and really took the time to answer all the questions I had.I have been seeing Dr. Ty for almost 5 months now, I’ve had 18 gentle and pain free adjustments and I feel 80% better. Dr. Ty used a digital 3-D xray that shows all the different angles and was able to find that my atlas was misaligned and that’s what’s causing all my symptoms and pain. Now, I have my life back. I’m lifting weights, running, using the stairmaster and riding my Peloton bike again! I’m able to sit for a few hours at a time to have dinner or watch a movie. It’s amazing how the little things we take for granted feel so amazing to have back. No cracking, twisting or popping of the neck or dry needling or trigger point injections can help! All I needed was Dr. Ty and his hollistic approach on spine care. Dr. Ty’s philosophy is “I’d rather have you healed and out there telling people about us than in here getting treatments” And that’s exactly what’s happening right now. I am healed and writing this review so I can help other people heal and feel their very best. Honestly, a five star rating is not enough for the care, service and knowledge that Dr. Ty has given me. Dr. Ty deserves 10 stars!!
Goldie RamirezGoldie Ramirez
19:52 03 Oct 23
Dr. Ty Carzoli & Zyle lee are some of the best people I’ve ever met. I recommend this practice to anyone in search of a trustworthy and honest practice. You will get the best care, and service and come out feeling better and stronger with time. I wouldn’t be in the physical state i’m in now if it weren’t for Dr, Ty Carzoli. I use to suffer from constant neck pain and horrible migraines due to a motorcycle accident until I started going to Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic. I promise you wont regret it. I’ve Been a patient for two years now and I’ve never been disappointed. Thank you Dr. Ty Carzoli & Zyle lee!!!
J TuleJ Tule
03:58 11 Mar 22
As an Army Officer with 19 years on Active Duty, my body has taken a beating. I waited too long to get care for chronic shoulder/arm pain, but Dr Ty and Zyle did their absolute best to schedule my visit immediately after I called. Look no further if you need an upper cervical adjustment. I have several chiropractors in my family; they recommended Dr Ty for the Denver area. I live in Fort Collins, and I drive past a hundred other chiropractors to see Dr Ty.
Rach ScribRach Scrib
03:15 15 Feb 22
I’ve had a great experience at Denver Upper Cervical. Dr. Ty is extremely knowledgeable and I’ve especially appreciated his expertise dealing with upper cervical instability. I’ve been to many chiropractors before finding Dr. Ty but I’ve really benefited from the gentler and more precise adjustments he does. I would highly recommend!
Scott DeLeeuwScott DeLeeuw
20:39 10 Feb 22
Dr. Ty is a master of his craft and very good at what he does. He’s passionate and caring and fully believes in the power of technology to guide treatment. Zyle is awesome as well, very personable and entertaining. I highly recommend Denver Upper Cervical for anyone experiencing neck or back issues.
Tara CatonTara Caton
15:56 07 Oct 21
It’s hard to find doctors who genuinely care about the people they are helping but both Ty and Zyle are very welcoming and make you feel cared for.
23:03 18 May 21
This is a wonderful and impressive practice! Dr. Ty made me feel comfortable and well-informed. I knew this was the right choice for my treatment, and knew that I wanted to move forward during my first visit. Dr. Ty has a great, holistic approach, while relating everything back to your main concern. The relaxation room is an amazing feature of the treatment process because it puts me in a positive state of mind. I’m really happy to have this facility close to home. Thank you!