Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for stimulating muscles along the jaw and sensory fibers in the face. This condition typically causes intense pain that reverberates along the course of the trigeminal nerve in the face, making even the mildest stimulation excruciatingly painful. There is no cure for trigeminal neuralgia, but there are ways patients can manage pain with treatment.
Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal Neuralgia is caused by a disruption to the nerve’s function, which may have developed from a trauma between a blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve. This condition may occur as a result of aging, or by a chronic disorder such as multiple sclerosis that damages the myelin sheath protecting nerves. Less common causes of trigeminal neuralgia may include tumors compressing the trigeminal nerve, or a brain lesion.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Symptoms
Symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia usually include occasional episodes of both mild and severe facial pain that feels similar to an electric shock. This pain may affect one or both sides of the face, and become more frequent and more intense overtime. Certain triggers, such as shaving, eating, drinking, brushing teeth, talking, putting on makeup, smiling or washing the face may also exacerbate pain symptoms.
How to Treat Trigeminal Neuralgia
Treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia may include one or more therapies depending on the patient’s symptoms. A pain management physician may recommend the following:
- Medication Management
- Occipital Nerve Blocks