I (Jonathan) have been getting some success recently in treating intractable lingual neuropathy using LLLT and osteopathy. The patient found Evolved Clinic through my connection to Thor Photomedicine. She had been suffering daily constant oral pain and numbness since a molar extraction eight years previously. She had seen a number of surgeons, neurologists and a couple of professors and been told she had lingual nerve damage and that it probably wasn’t going to get better. Unfortunately a consultant put her on very high doses of Gabapentin in an effort to defeat the chronic pain, which only served to make her dependent on Gabapentin and cognitive impairment. Her husband had reviewed the literature on lingual nerve pain treatment and had discovered a paper from Turkey on the use of LLLT. Through enquiries they eventually found their way to me.
I’m not in the business of curing the incurable, but I reasoned that I could trial weekly treatments for 4 weeks and see what happened. After a slow start, in week 3 the patient had an entire day without discomfort in her tongue. A few weeks later she went three and a half days without discomfort. She now reducing he gabapentin dose gradually and every week the mouth improves.
If I had to give a opinion about her condition I would say that it was both the alveolar nerve and the lingual nerve that was affected. Other symptoms such as focal headaches and ear-watering on the same side as the neuropathy led me to start treating this like a trigeminal neuralgia. There was a clear peripheral component to the local pain (particularly in the tongue), a peripheral neuropathy (trigeminal ganglion) and central sensitisation. I treated all simultaneously and the patient is progressing very well.
Next month Andrea George comes into Evolved Clinic. Andrea is a registered dental nurse and osteopath. She will focus on oral-facial and dental related problems such as this one.