What is trigeminal neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a neurological condition that causes sudden and severe pain in parts of the face. Sensations from the face are carried by the trigeminal nerve to the brain.
What are the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia?
TN causes attacks of sharp and stabbing pain in the cheek, lower face, or around the eye as depicted in the picture. The pain lasts a few seconds to a few minutes and usually happens on only one side of the face. The attacks can happen repeatedly.
Often, certain triggers can precipitate the attacks of pain. These can include:
●Touching the face
●Brushing the teeth
●Smiling or frowning
●Cold air on the face
TN can also cause muscle spasms in the face, along with pain.
Will I need tests?
Maybe. Your doctor should be able to tell if you have TN by learning about your symptoms and doing an exam.
He or she might do tests to get more information about your TN or what’s causing it. These tests can include an MRI or CT scan of your brain. These are imaging tests that can create pictures of your brain.
How is trigeminal neuralgia treated?
TN is usually treated with medicine. Doctors can use different types of medicines to treat TN. Most often doctors prescribe a type of medicine normally used to prevent seizures. The one used most often to treat TN is called Carbamazepine, Gabapentin, Baclofen etc. There are several others, too. These medicines quiet the nerve signals that cause pain in TN.
For most people, the medicine helps reduce the number of TN attacks they have and makes their pain less severe. But if medicines don’t help enough or cause too many side effects, your doctor might talk with you about other treatment options. These include different types of surgical procedures that quiet the nerve and make it less likely to cause pain. These surgical treatments might help with symptoms, but side effects sometimes happen, including numbness or pain in the face.
Aster Speciality Clinic, International City