Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, the nerve responsible for providing sensation to the face. The symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia include an intense, stabbing, electric-shock-like pain and typically occur in the lower face and jaw. However, it can also affect the surrounding areas, such as the nose and above the eyes. This intense pain in the face is usually caused by irritation of the trigeminal nerve. While trigeminal neuralgia cannot always be cured, there are treatments available to help alleviate the pain.
Trigeminal neuralgia symptoms may include:
- Episodes of severe, shooting or jabbing pain that may feel like an electric shock
- Uncontrollable facial twitching
- Constant aching, burning feeling
- Pain affecting one side of the face at a time
- Spontaneous attacks of pain or attacks triggered by touching the face, chewing, smiling, or brushing teeth
Trigeminal neuralgia occurs when the trigeminal nerve becomes irritated. Typically, the problem is contact between a normal blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain. This contact puts pressure on the trigeminal nerve, causing it to malfunction. Other causes of trigeminal neuralgia include the pressure of a tumor on the nerve, which damages the myelin sheath protecting the nerve.
A variety of triggers can set off the pain of trigeminal neuralgia, including:
- Touching the face
- Putting on makeup or other products on the face
- Eating or drinking
There are several effective ways to alleviate the pain, including a variety of medications, such as carbamazepine, baclofen, phenytoin, and oxcarbazepine. Other treatment options for trigeminal neuralgia include:
- Epidural steroid injection
- Spinal cord stimulator
- Selective nerve root block
- Sympathetic nerve block
We understand that each patient’s pain is unique. Therefore, the treatment recommended to each patient will be personalized to fit their condition and lifestyle. Our multi-disciplinary team of physicians offers advanced interventional and minimally-invasive techniques to help treat chronic, complex pain. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your concerns and what treatment options might be right for you!