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Revisiting: A Case of Trigeminal Neuralgia


Time to give the answer to last month’s quiz:

This month, it’s our friend Gabi who came to me with a case.  Here she is now, looking like she’s waiting for a bus. 


Anyway…..It seems her friend, “Mitzi” had a terrible mishap at the dentist — who hasn’t? A nerve was damaged while working on Mitzi’s tooth!  I told Gabi to shoot the “Acute Case Questionnaire” over to her at once, without which, I, as a homeopath, can scarcely help anyone.

So, the case came back as follows:

“Onset–sudden or gradual” and “What was going on at that time?” are irrelevant questions when the case is an injury; so, we move on to our questions about “Sensation, Location and Modalities”. The pain is on the right side of the face. The sensation is like knives, like needles, the pain is shooting; it comes and goes and makes Mitzi so sick she has to lie down. (That would be a modality–better lying down or resting.) She can’t talk; her jaw is “blocked”, she says. Hot compresses make the pain better, another modality.

We come now to “appearance”. The patient looks very sick. The right side of the face can be swollen when in pain for a while.

Her general state–She wants to be alone and is irritable. She cries from the pain and feels desperate and hopeless. She says her thirst hasn’t changed.

Concomitants– She salivates more and her eyes run.

She says the most striking thing about her case is the desperation.


Now, to solve the case!  Put simply, as Vasilis Ghegas used to say–and probably still does–if you have a trigeminal neuralgia, there are two issues: Right side, or left side? Better hot, or better cold?  That’s it!

Right side = Mag-phos.

Left side = Spigilia

Better hot = Mag-phos.

Better cold = Spigilia

So, obviously, I looked up Mag-phos. to see if it covered the case and amazingly, practically the entire case was there! Let’s list the elements of the case:

1. Right-sided facial neuralgia

2. Pains like knives/needles

3. Shooting pain

4. Pains come and go

5. Better lying down

6. Better heat

7. Irritable

8. Better alone

9. Lachrymation

10. Desperate

11. Cries from the pain

12. Jaw is stuck, can’t talk

13. Increased salivation

So, how many of these fit Mag-phos.? Using Murphy’s materia medica (Homeopathic Remedy Guide), we see the following under Mag-phos.:

“Neuralgic pains relieved by warmth…better rest…pains…in paroxysms, compelling her to cry out…sharp, shooting, like lightning, suddenly changing places. Radiating, extorting cries. … always talking about her pains, sobbing, crying, lamenting all the time about pain….”

Under “Face”, we see, “facial neuralgia” and “lock-jaw” (note her comment about her jaw being “blocked”).

Under “Eyes”, we see, “increased lachrymation”.

Under “Mouth”, we see, “painful contraction of jaw joint.”

Under “Comments”, we have, “The pains of Mag-phos. are shooting like lightning….Better warmth. … Nash says Mag-phos. is in the first rank as a pain remedy and has all kinds of pain (though cramping pain is the most characteristic) except burning pains and this distinguishes it from Arsenicum since both are better from heat. … The attacks of pain are attended with great prostration.”

The increased salivation is not mentioned, but, Phosphorus is a 2 for that in the Repertory, so, maybe that’s enough to cover that symptom, but, I have a feeling that this really isn’t part of the case anyway because it’s probably a common symptom of someone with mouth pain or tooth pain to have excessive salivation or just maybe a disinclination to swallow, so, we’re not really concerned about that symptom as much as the others.

Better from being alone isn’t listed, but, if the pain causes prostration and the need to lie down, that would cause her to go off alone to her room, I’m not sure that better alone really applies here; and I think it would probably be common to be irritable under the circumstances too.

A lot of people voted for Hypericum in this case. It was roughly half and half between these two remedies. Of course, Hypericum is a very big remedy for injury to the nerves. But it doesn’t have the important modality in the case:  better warmth.

Now, I’d like to tell you who the winners are, but, on Friday the 13th, my computer crashed! Hopefully I will be able to list the winners’ names in February, but, to be on the safe side, if you guessed Mag-phos. in this quiz, please send me an email and let me know.  Sorry about that!  Be sure to tune in again next month for another fabulous hpathy quiz!


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