What is trigeminal neuralgia?
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a sharp and unpredictable pain that feels like an electric shock affecting the face, teeth, gums or jaw.
What are the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia for facial pain?
The extreme Symptoms Of Trigeminal Neuralgia pain can last from a matter of seconds to a couple of minutes. Symptoms For Trigeminal Neuralgia pain attacks can affect someone rarely – or regularly – sometimes many times the same day. These may be intermittent or may come in ‘volleys’.
There may be periods with no pain followed by attacks – though over time many people with the condition find the time between attacks gets shorter.
One side of the face is usually affected rather than both sides.
During an attack Symptoms Of Trigeminal Neuralgia the pain is usually too severe to do anything until the pain eases.
A person may have a sense of an attack coming on – but they can often be unexpected.
People with Symptoms for Trigeminal Neuralgia may be concerned about certain activities triggering the pain – so may try to avoid simple things like shaving or putting on makeup.
The extreme pain – and the fear of attacks – can cause mental health problems, including depression or suicidal thoughts.
Seek medical advice about trigeminal neuralgia symptoms.
What causes of trigeminal neuralgia for facial?
The Causes Of Trigeminal Neuralgia is located inside the skull near the stem of the brain and is linked to other parts of the face and mouth Causes For Trigeminal Neuralgia where it receives information about touch and pain.
If this important Causes Of Trigeminal Neuralgia nerve gets squashed for some reason, signals get scrambled and extreme pain signals can result Causes For Trigeminal Neuralgia.
Pressure can come from:
- Blood vessel problems
- Brain tumours or cysts
- Multiple sclerosis (MS).
What triggers trigeminal neuralgia?
The extreme pain can be triggered by being in a draft, a light touch to the face, brushing teeth, a kiss, turning the head – or it can come on with no obvious trigger.
How is trigeminal neuralgia diagnosed?
A doctor or dentist will begin to diagnose trigeminal neuralgia based on the symptoms, the person’s medical history and a physical examination.
They will ask about the symptoms, how the pain feels, how long it lasts and the parts of the face affected.
A dentist will usually take X-rays to check for other possible causes of the pain, such as problems with teeth.
There is no test to diagnose trigeminal neuralgia – but tests such as MRI scans may be arranged to rule out other causes of the pain, such as MS pain or sinusitis. These brain scans can also be used to look for blood vessel problems near the trigeminal nerve.
Medication for trigeminal neuralgia
Standard painkillers do not work for trigeminal neuralgia pain.
Treatment For Trigeminal Neuralgia may follow a referral to a pain specialist or to a neurologist.
One effective treatment is the anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine that is also used for epilepsy. This Treatment Of Trigeminal Neuralgia calms the nerves and reduces pain signals. However, it has a range of possible side-effects, including dizziness.
No other drugs are licenced specifically Treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia – but other medications that may be used if carbamazepine is not suitable Treatment Of Trigeminal Neuralgia include:
Surgical options for trigeminal neuralgia
Other treatment options are surgical procedures:
Some procedures involve using a needle through the cheek into the trigeminal nerve and the Gasserian ganglion area of the brain. This is called a percutaneous procedure and is done under sedation or general anaesthetic.
The needle may be used to intentionally damage the nerve by:
- Injecting glycerol medication
- Applying heat, called radiofrequency lesioning
- Blowing up a tiny balloon and then releasing the pressure again.
Like any operation, these procedures carry some risks. These include:
- Temporary or permanent loss of feeling or numbness of part of the face
- Eye problems
- Hearing problems
- Stroke (rarely).
Other surgical options include:
- A focussed beam of radiation aimed at the nerve, called stereotactic radiosurgery
- Brain surgery, called microvascular decompression (MVD) to move or remove a blood vessel that’s causing pressure on the nerve.
Can trigeminal neuralgia be prevented?
There is no known way to prevent the condition – but people may find that avoiding some activities can prevent attacks once they are diagnosed with the condition.
This could mean:
- Staying out of drafts or away from wind
- Avoiding chilly air conditioning
- Avoiding food and drink extremes – such as hot or cold foods, spicy or acidic, including some fruits.
Who gets trigeminal neuralgia?
There are no definitive statistics for the UK – but estimates put the number of people diagnosed with the condition as around 1 in 10,000 a year.
The condition is more likely to be diagnosed between 50 and 60 – and is more common in women than it is in men.
Some people find getting in touch with other people with the condition helps, such as support groups or the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association UK.