Feeling ferocious facial pain?
Jaw soreness and facial pain: These symptoms are frequently talked about and diagnosed as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ or TMD). Now neurologists and biologists – like Dr. Paul Durham, distinguished professor of cell biology at Missouri State University and the director of the Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences at the Jordan Valley Innovation Center – are looking at another painful condition involving the trigeminal nerve: Trigeminal neuralgia (TN).
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, TN is characterized by extreme, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like facial pain that lasts anywhere from a few seconds to as long as two minutes per episode.
In Durham’s lab, he has investigated the trigeminal nerve functions and tested a few innovative techniques to mitigate trigeminal pain, such as a compound derived from cannabis and stimulation of a different nerve in the neck – the vagal nerve. He also incorporates the use of compounds found naturally in fruits, vegetables and plants into his testing.