The trigeminal nerve is the largest of cranial nerves and consists of 12 pairs of nerves that control many functions of the face. Causes of trigeminal neuralgia range from pressure on the nerve, aging, or a disorder that wears away the myelin such as cerebral palsy. Other causes include injury or stroke.
Those with trigeminal neuralgia may experience severe pain in the face and jaw. Even slight stimulation can trigger pain. The pain can be shooting or jabbing. Before an episode begins, some sufferers experience a burning sensation. The pain may be localized or spread and may worsen over time. It can also last a few minutes or days.
While treatments such as surgery or medications may provide relief, the condition is progressive over time.
About Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN)
Before we can celebrate the passing of this special day, we must first understand what trigeminal neuralgia is. TN is a disorder of the fifth cranial nerve (the trigeminal nerve) that causes chronic pain. It comes in two forms: TN1 and TN2. One can be affected by both of these types, but TN2 is typically a progression of TN1. This condition causes extreme and burning pain in the face, excessive salivation, depression, anxiety, and facial or head contortion. This pain can be triggered by routine activities such as brushing your teeth, shaving, or drinking a hot beverage; however, there is not always a trigger. An episode can occur spontaneously. TN may be caused by multiple things, such as multiple sclerosis, tumors, tangled arteries, an injury to the trigeminal nerve, or a blood vessel pressing on that nerve.
Physical and neurological examinations will be used to find a diagnosis, along with a review of patient history. In order to rule out other conditions, doctors may employ MRIs. Once a diagnosis is obtained, treatment consists of surgery, psychotherapy, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants. Doctors also recommend meditation and yoga.
Severe shooting pain that may feel like an electric shock
Pain or attacks activated by touching the face, biting, talking or brushing
Pain areas include the ear, eyes, forehead, jaw, or mouth and face
Over sensitivity, sensitivity to pain, or uncomfortable tingling and burning
Can be only one attack of pain, some may experience sharp pain every hour or every few seconds
I’m so thankful that research dollars are spent on a rare disease and I’m sure those with the illness are grateful too.