Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Dr Kenneth Casey MD

There are so many facts on the internet about Trigeminal Neuralgia, and sadly many of those facts are wrong. The problem is that people don't realise they are wrong and believe them. 

The book, 'Striking Back', written by Dr Kenneth F. Casey MD and George Wiegel, is considered to be an excellent point of reference for any facial pain sufferer, with correct information about conditions and treatments.

Dr Casey, who is on the medical advisory board of the Facial Pain Association, is concerned that many patients and caregivers believe they have a bleak forecast when they read some of the information online. He has very kindly sent us the following statement so that we could publish it on our blog.

Neuropathic facial pain has many different faces, of which trigeminal neuralgia is only one.  When we first hear the diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia, most people go "What the heck is that?"   As people read about it, the material in print can be sometimes very scary and daunting.  Unfortunately as with most situations, most of the stories online and even those from people in support groups represent the patients for whom a cure has remained elusive.  However, if you read carefully between the lines, many of the patients and many of those that you never come in contact with had the diagnosis, received appropriate medical therapy, in some cases chose to go on to surgical therapy and are living pain-free.  We have over 9000 cases of which 75% of the patients have little or no pain following surgical or medical procedures.  Similar numbers exist in France with a physician Lyon; similar numbers exist in Italy and similar numbers in England.  For those who aren't familiar, there is a very active support group in Australia where surgical care is a little more difficult to come by.  They have a large group of people who with medications, and especially non-pharmaceutical/non-prescription medications such as high doses of vitamin B12 and the like, are living quite comfortably.

This is not to say that there are some patients who suffer terribly and for those patients, the members of the Medical Advisory Board of the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association have pledged a good deal of their time and careers towards developing additional procedures which may be of help.  At the same time, the trigeminal neuralgia foundation is currently undertaking groundbreaking research looking at the genetics of trigeminal neuralgia and how those genetics may affect the treatments that we can offer to patients who suffer from this particular form of neuropathic pain as well as other forms of neuropathic facial pain.  Starting in 2004 in France, a nonsurgical/noninvasive procedure known as transcranial magnetic cortical stimulation was utilized in patients with neurogenic facial pain of all types and specifically trigeminal neuralgia with significant relief obtained.  Owen was another researcher in the United States who found the same results a year later.  Recently the group in England showed the transcranial magnetic stimulation with a device that is a portable unit has shown that this transcranial magnetic stimulator works quite nicely for migraine pain and now have extended their work to neurogenic facial pain.

The message is that much work is being done.  


New non-drug related therapies are developed.  Different drugs, up to 18, have been tried with success ranging from 50 to 75%, and interest in finding the basic mechanism in dealing with it has never been higher. 

Kenneth F Casey M.D.

With thanks to Dr Casey for his input.

Striking Back is normally available to purchase from the Facial Pain Association or Trigeminal Neuralgia Association in the country where you live.
Those websites can be found in our 'useful links' tabs on the right hand side of this page.

1 comment:

  1. What a gréât and positive post!!!! I am a iatrogenic Trigeminal neuropathy patient.....and I am always so surprised to read the amalgam done between our different treatments. Indeed, every TN patient is in the same kind of pain....however it is to be noticed iatrogenic TN patients are not candidate to any surgery.....( no compression....means no need of de....compression) recent publications are underlining the fact that iatrogenic TN patients have an effective medication's rate of 11% compared to 74% for demyelination causes ( post herpetic, MS or diabetic patients). It is also to be noted the medications offered to treat our conditions have strong side effects. Decompression surgeries....for adequate candidates...have...as said, a successful rate of 50 to 75%....the unsuccessful surgeries can lead to: no pain relieve...or more pain as well as other cranial nerve injury....But....so true, I am always so happy to read when patients are pain free and back to a normal life.....sooooo happy ;)

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