Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, also known as the 5th cranial nerve. The trigeminal nerve consists of three branches that conduct sensations to the brain from the upper, middle, and lower portions of the face, as well as the oral cavity. Trigeminal Neuralgia is caused by a variety of conditions resulting in pressure, compression or injury to the trigeminal nerve.
Typical presentation is characterized by an extreme, sudden burning, or shock-like facial pain, lasting seconds to two minutes per episode. These attacks can occur in quick succession. Atypical presentation is characterized by a more constant sensation of pain that tends to be slightly less severe than the typical presentation. Both typical and atypical presentation of pain may occur in the same person and potentially at the same time. The intensity of pain can be physically and mentally debilitating.
The intense flashes of pain can be triggered by contact, or even light touch. For example, daily activities such as shaving, washing the face, applying makeup, brushing teeth, eating, drinking, talking and even being exposed to the wind can trigger pain.
Treatment options include medicines, surgery, and alternative therapy. Come see us for an evaluation if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we can find the right treatment for you!
Caroline Pruski, NP