Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
What causes glossopharyngeal neuralgia and how would you treat a patient with glossopharangeal neuralgia using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)?
A: Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is thought to be caused by irritation of the ninth cranial nerve. Symptoms usually begin in people over 40 years of age. In most cases, the true source of the irritation is not discovered. Some causes may include tumors or infections of the throat and mouth, compression of the glossopharyngeal nerve by neighboring blood vessels, and other lesions at the base of the skull.
I would suggest you conduct proper tests to rule out these major causes. As for treatment, since this is a neurological pathology, TCM and acupuncture specifically can be of help. Contact a licensed acupuncturist to determine the proper course of treatment. To find one, go to www.acupuncture.com.