What is Trigeminal neuralgia?
This is a condition involving the 5th Cranial Nerve -the Trigeminal Nerve. The condition is also called tic douloureux. It is said to be the most painful condition known.
What are the symptoms?
It consist of episodes of intense, stabbing pain that people describe like an electrical shock. It may involve the lips, eyes, side of the nose, forehead and jaw. It usually affects only one side of the face. It usually lasts a short time e.g seconds to minutes but may progress to more constant pain - often described as aching or burning.
What starts it?
It generally is trigger by something such as brushing the teeth, shaving or even the slightest touch.
What causes it?
No-one knows the cause. Pressure from an artery onto the Trigeminal nerve is suggested as a cause. In the majority of cases some demyelination of the trigeminal ganglion plays a part in the nerve fibres "short-circuiting". Patients with Multiple Sclerosis may experience trigeminal neuralgia.
Who gets it?
It occurs more often in females and usually in older people although it can occur at any age.
Medication is often effective in controlling the pain. Some patients may benefit from surgery.
Support from other people with Trigeminal Neuralgia is often helpful.
Contact the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association -email firstname.lastname@example.org
Trigeminal Neuralgia Association -USA
Trigeminal Neuralgia Association UK
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke