I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Classic Trigeminal Neuralgia in January, by a neurologist. She disregarded that I shared with her that while 95% of my nerve pain was limited to areas of the Trigeminal nerve, about five percent of it was bilateral and some of it was in other parts of my body like spine, arms, hands, legs and feet. I believe that it was all triggered by a case of shingles w/o the rash, in October. It followed a period of extreme stress and may having a week of indulgence in all things that I had associated as bad for me: sugary stuff, caffeine, chocolate and alcohol. Chocolate had always lowered my immune system, but I thought I had to be around someone who was sick —so I was unconcerned. I was just rebelling against all the stress and life full of dietary restrictions that no one else seems to have.
Anyway, the neurologist dismissed the idea that my TN could have been initially triggered as a result of shingles because it was “so rare”. When I asked if it was impossible, she said “No, it is just so rare that I do not think it is connected”.
Why do I still get other nerve pain with the TN flares??????
Also, has anyone else found a connection between their TN, or other nerve pain and their levels of hydration? In the last three (which includes the first episode —with epic levels of pain), I found that the pain started to gradually subside and shortly after cease to occur when I started drinking a lot more water (even around the clock). I believe being dehydrated may be the trigger of my last two flares —maybe even the initial one too). I do not have any compressed nerves or tumours hence the use of the term idiopathic. I had to MRI’s they were both normal. Even when their is a compressed nerve, they don’t really know for sure how the pain is connected since their are people who have compressed nerves with no nerve pain.
I suspect from my own experience that dehydration impairs the quality of myelin (the protective coating on the nerves). Maybe this is why so many people who have surgeries to correct it, end up having repeated surgeries still without success.
My first response now when the nerve pain starts is to just start downing lots of water throughout the day, and night if necessary. I am especially careful then to avoid any diuretics. Many drugs/medications are diuretics. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics. Sugar also acts as a diuretic. I cannot help but suspect that being chronically under hydrated is a trigger for for nerve pain.
Trigeminal Neuralgia, Postherpetic Neuralgia and dehydration are all more common over fifty years old.
I have always had an issue with forgetting to drink enough fluids. Maybe it just caught up to me as I was approaching fifty, because the body is just becoming less resilient then.