Sunday, March 3, 2013

Night terrors and trigeminal neuralgia: a spiritual approach to fear

If one has trigeminal neuralgia, terror can rule the night. I was married when I had pain so horrific that my spouse sometimes awakened me, explaining that he could not sleep because I was screaming. I was amazed by the fact that I could slumber in spite of my physical distress.

I am aware that I am not the only one who has slept through his or her nocturnal pain, but I do not know who shares this experience. When I began my internship for TNA, The Facial Pain Association, I heard that Dr. Joanna M. Zakrzewska would be studying this phenomenon. Although I got an email from her regarding the proposed research topic, I did not hear more about it. I was comforted, however, by knowing I was not the only person with this bizarre story.

Knowing we are not alone in our suffering is part of the validation process. I have taken many calls from individuals who felt they had to explain the pain to me. When they discovered that I had also endured it, I would always hear a sigh of relief. The caller could move onto the questions he or she had for me with assurance that I "got it."

When night falls and people who have TN try to sleep, pain and fear can heighten. One reason is that trigeminal neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia, and other types of neuropathic facial issues, often get worse when an individual lies down. Also when we are not distracted by the business of the day, pain comes to the forefront of our consciousness. In a future post, I will feature a guest who will address these issues further.

In the night our mind, spirit, and body connection seems to increase. Consider the dreams you have had on occasion, how they revealed your unspoken desires, your deepest fears.

Fear is the enemy of anyone who has trigeminal neuralgia. We are frightened by the electrocution-type pains and wonder how we can endure more of them. After all, anyone who knows that he or she will get struck by lightening in the future has a right to be afraid.

We cannot control the pain, but we can try to reign in the trepidation. How we benefit from the mind, spirit, and body connection? By saying a prayer, we involve all three aspects of our being. Will you read this prayer with me? It is the 23rd Psalm.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

By reading the prayer, we use both mind and body even if we read silently. And if saying the 23rd Psalm is done in hopes of having a better night, an individual has employed faith. Prayer could a be the vehicle that helps you begin to mend. 

Faith is like a muscle. If we do not use it, it shrinks to nothing. Pump up! Believe you can get better. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Henrietta, for stopping by my blog. God bless you.

  2. I recently had a had a crown put on my back right molar. Since then I have had severe pain on the right tip and bottom teeth. After several trips back to the dentist he said that when the deadened my gum area they must have injured the trigeminal nerve. He said it should heal in 6-8 weeks.from what I've seen online there is no way to tell if it's permanent or not. The pain for me started once a night and it would wake me up. A few nights I didn't have pain but the last couple of nights I've had atleast 5 episodes lasting no more that 2 minutes at a time. My dentist wants me to come in every week (at no cost) until it is healed. Which is good because my dental insurance has a 1,500 year maximum benefits. I'm still new to this and it is all kind of scary. I haven't seen anything about temporary TN from dental trama, but I pray that is what I have.