Mr. Lawhern, can you share some of your expertise here? index finger and ATN, I can't see the connection!

I found some links that claim TN causes index finger pain, but can't find much sound evidence or any proper research behind such claim.

I consulted my neurologist who is one of the top researchers on MS in the country in which I live, and he said he can't see how the fifth cranial nerve would have any relation with the index finger.

His assessment is that perhaps some ATN/TN patients have issues with the cervical spine on top of their TN/ATN, and perhaps because of a lack of medical background knowledge they associate both symptoms and think they are caused by one single issue rather than by two separate different issues. (does that make sense to you?)

The links I found claiming that some patients do have index finger issues with TN have been anecdotal evidence mostly shared by patients in support groups. Sites like wikipedia and a neurological site for a university also claim some patients have index finger pain but they don't go deeper into why.

I work with science and have some anatomical knowledge (not very vast) but I can't see how the C6 and the fifth cranial nerve could be connected in that TN has a direct link with the index finger pain some people might have.

Do you think that my neurologist is right and perhaps some TN/ATN patients might have cervical issues and may associate both symptoms as being caused by the same issue, rather than knowing the causes for the symptoms are different?

Thank you so much for any input you can give me.

I have a C5-C6 disc problem, and linked with that I have also a lot of muscle knots in this area of my neck and shoulder one side- the side where the (what I believe) TN2 is. I've noticed that the constant aching along all three branches of the Trigeminal nerve I get is lots worse when I have these bad spells with my neck! I don't know why, as from my limited knowledge the disc problem is below where the nerve is? It's a similar thing to your question- the two seem to be linked, but how can they be? Or if I'm in a lot of pain with my neck, does it make me more tense, and more sensitive to other pain?

The human body is a mystery though, and nerves can work in strange ways, for example an injury to the spleen can cause referred pain to the shoulder- absolutely no connection, but this referred pain is well documented and an indicator used to suspect a splenic injury in trauma medicine!

I've seen speculation by patients that index finger pain may be caused by the same factors involved in atypical TN (aka Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain). But I don't recall having seen anything from authoritative sources in medical literature to this effect. A search on "Trigeminal Neuralgia index finger" at the US National Library of Medicine turns up no abstracts which include all four words.

The connections between cervical spine displacements or muscle spasms and face pain seem to be even more subtle and hard to demonstrate. My personal suspicion is that some of the factors which predispose people to facial neuropathic pain may also be operating in pain experienced in the extremities. But at the present stage of medical knowledge, I see no evidence that those factors are adequately understood if they exist at all. I DO know, however, that TMJ and facial neuropathic pain aren't exclusive medical entities. You can have both at the same time. And the ultimate causes of TMJ are just as murky as those of so-called "idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia".

Regards and best,


well, one day I happened across an article on accupressure treatment for TN and found that there is a spot on the inside of the tip of the index finger that helps ease my pain sometimes. Doesn't get rid of pain, but some days makes it more bearable. And it has consistently worked for me for 6 months or more. There must be some strange connection btn TN and the index finger.

imcurtis, I'm never without an ache at some level, it's always there in one particular molar lower jaw, however my neck is, but is just noticeably worse on the bad neck pain days.

I have wondered about the index finger thing too. It seems so random. But I have neck problems as well as bilateral ATN and migraines. I get pain right down my shoulder, arm and into my hand-- that is apparently connected to my neck issue. I had physio earlier this year for about three months for my neck and I think it ended up helping my face too. I have had a great three months BUT it was summer and I have had remissions before. In the summer I generally have lower pain. I think the coming months will really tell. I have done a lot of reading about NUCCA and the cervical spine. A lot of it does make sense.

Jane, those who have read my postings here will understand that I have strong reservations about the effectiveness of any form of chiropractic manipulation in neurological pain. Some people do report positive results. Others don't. So my caution to anyone considering NUCCA techniques is that there is absolutely NO randomized controlled trials data behind them. If you choose to explore this modality of treatment, be sure your primary medical doctor is on-board with you and monitoring your outcomes.

Regards, Red

I completely agree Red. I haven't been to see a chiropractor. Some Osteopaths are trained in cranial therapy and that is the route that I have chosen. And I know that you have reservations. I have been learning about this for the past few months and from what I read and see I do think that it makes sense for some of us atypical folks with a mirage of strange symptoms that don't end with our face. If it helps me again through the fall and winter then I will be jumping for joy :)

Embryologically, the trigeminal nerve complex, the heart and arm/ hand form from the same five pairs of branchial arches. Referred pain throughout the body is seen to follow embryonic development, so yes it is not unexpected that the index finger should be a symptom, although an uncomman report.