Trigeminal Neuralgia


Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the face and is caused by a disturbance to the trigeminal nerve, located in the face. This condition is more prevalent in women than men, and is more likely to occur in individuals over the age of 50. Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by brief, sudden shock-like pain in the facial area triggered by light stimulation.

When the trigeminal nerve, located at the base of the brain, comes in contact with a blood vessel, the resulting pressure causes the nerve to malfunction. This condition can also be the result of aging, or it can be related to nerve-damaging disorders, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Rarely, the trigeminal nerve is compressed by a tumor, brain lesion, or other abnormalities.

Branches of the trigeminal nerve:

  • auriculo-temporal
  • maxillar
  • mandibular
  • supra-orbital

We offer multidisciplinary assessments by a neurologist and a pain specialistultrasound guided nerve blocks with or without cortisone, medications, physiotherapyactive exercisesacupunctureBiofeedback, and psychotherapy for those who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is mainly diagnosed based on your description of the pain, including type, location and triggers of pain. For accurate diagnosis and to determine the underlying cause of the condition, an MRI of the head and neurological examination are conducted.

Symptoms may include one or more of the following pain patterns:

  • Occasional twinges of mild pain
  • Episodes of severe, shooting pain that may feel like an electric shock
  • Spontaneous attacks of pain triggered by touching the face, chewing, speaking and brushing teeth
  • Episodes of several attacks lasting days, weeks, months or longer
  • Pain in areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve, including the cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, lips, and sometimes the eyes and forehead
  • Pain affecting one side of your face at a time
  • Attacks becoming more frequent and intense over time

Pain resulting from trigeminal neuralgia is often triggered by shaving, stroking the face, eating, drinking, brushing teeth, talking, applying makeup, wind, smiling, and face washing.

Sources:

http://www.medicinenet.com/trigeminal_neuralgia/article.htm

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000742.htm

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/trigeminalneuralgia.html

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/trigeminal-neuralgia

 

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