Take a crack at it

Back in April, a spot on my face started going numb. It was a spot about the size of a golf ball, between my lower lip and my jaw. It was fairly weird, to all of a sudden have this place on my face go numb, and it would stay benumbed for a day or two. See a doctor? Nah. No big deal. Just some occasional numbness. I’m sure it’ll fix itself, right?

Then, in May, there was a night where that numbness upped its game, and brought Da Pain—a stinging, burning pain in that same spot that definitely got my attention. “Holy bleep,” I’m thinkin’, “what the bleep is going on with my bleepin’ face?” After a few minutes, it became seriously obvious it was time to see a pro.

I had a pretty good idea of what was happening by the time I went in, because it was an easy call for Dr. Interweb. The first thing that pops up in a search for “burning sensations facial” is something called trigeminal neuralgia. Not real common, but certainly well known. The trigeminal nerve comes out of your neck and gets up in your face, providing feeling to your cheek and jaw, one of the main facial nerve branches. Sometimes, this nerve will get irritated by some other viscera, like a vein or artery, causing it to fire off in a nasty little way. The doc agreed with my self-diagnosis, and prescribed some meds that would calm that nerve and keep it from overheating.

OK, swell. I got the meds, so I can mask the pain. But, gee, maybe it’d be nice to, you know, fix my face? Because we all know that the fewer meds you take in this life, the better off you are. So … what’s next?

I was thinking massage might help re-position that nerve, or something, but a friend suggested I think chiropractically. Why not? I called my chiro, whom I hadn’t seen in seven years, and he was still doing business. Lucky for me. I asked, “So, uh, are you familiar with the trigeminal nerve?” He responded, “Get in here.”

Three sweet neck cracks later, delivered in three adjustment sessions over the course of a week, and … progress. Big time. Impressive progress. About 90 percent repair job, with normal sensation returning to that fiery numb zone between lip and jaw. Face fixed? Well, the meds are in the medicine chest, just in case of a regression. You never know. But for now, big props to my backcracker!