Trigeminal Neuralgia – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment that we should not ignore. In addition, trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which brings sensation from your face to your brain. If you have trigeminal neuralgia , even gentle stimulation of your face like brushing your teeth or putting on makeup can trigger a jolt of insidious pain.
You can initially take short, soft attacks. But trigeminal neuralgia can progress and cause longer, more frequent bouts of searing pain. Trigeminal neuralgia affects women more often than men, and is more likely to occur in people over the age of 50.
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Due to the variety of treatment options available, having trigeminal neuralgia doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed to a lifetime of pain. Doctors can usually effectively manage trigeminal neuralgia with medications, injections, or surgery.
Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia: In trigeminal neuralgia , also called tic douloureux, the function of the trigeminal nerve is disrupted. Typically, the problem is contact between a normal blood vessel in this case, an artery or vein, and the trigeminal nerve at the base of your brain. This contact puts pressure on the nerve and causes it to malfunction.
Trigeminal neuralgia can occur as a result of aging, or it can be related to multiple sclerosis or a similar disease that damages the myelin sheath that protects certain nerves. Less commonly, trigeminal neuralgia can be caused by a tumor that compresses the trigeminal nerve.
Some people may experience trigeminal neuralgia due to a brain injury or other abnormalities. In other cases, surgical injuries, stroke, or facial trauma can be responsible for trigeminal neuralgia . Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia Can Include One or More Of These Patterns.
- Episodes of severe , shooting or aching pain that can feel like an electric shock
- Spontaneous bouts of pain or attacks triggered by things like touching the face, chewing, talking, and brushing teeth ;
- Beating of pain that lasts from a few seconds to several minutes;
- Episodes of multiple attacks that have lasted for days, weeks, months, or longer, some people have periods when they do not experience pain
- Constant pain, burning sensation that is less intense than spasm pain;
- Pain in areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve, including the cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, lips or less often the eye and forehead
- Pain that affects one side of the face at a time, although it may rarely affect both sides of the face
- Pain focused on one point or spread in a wider pattern;
- Attacks that become more frequent and intense over time;
Diagnosis of Trigeminal Neuralgia: The doctor may make the diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia based primarily on the patient’s description of the pain. For this, it follows three main criteria.
- Type: pain related to trigeminal neuralgia is sudden, brief, and electric shock-like;
- Location: the doctor will be able to verify if it is really a case of trigeminal neuralgia from the parts of the face that are affected by pain;
- Triggers: Pain related to trigeminal neuralgia is usually caused by external stimulation or simple everyday actions such as eating, talking or exposing yourself to breeze and wind.
In addition, the specialist may perform many tests to diagnose trigeminal neuralgia and determine the underlying causes for this condition, such as:
- Neurological Examination: By examining the patient’s face, the physician is able to determine exactly where the pain is occurring and, if the diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia is confirmed, which branches of the trigeminal nerve have been affected.
- MRI: Doctors may order an MRI scan of the head to determine whether trigeminal neuralgia is caused by a more serious problem, such as multiple sclerosis or a tumor.
Accurate diagnosis is essential for trigeminal neuralgia, as facial pain can be caused by a variety of conditions. If necessary, the doctor will order some additional tests to rule out other possible causes.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment: Treatment for trigeminal neuralgia usually begins with the use of anticonvulsant and antispasmodic medications. In many cases, no further treatment is needed.
However, over time, some people with this condition may stop responding to medications or experience unpleasant side effects. For these people, injections and surgery may be viable options.
Now, if trigeminal neuralgia is caused by another, more serious problem, the doctor must treat the specific underlying condition.