If you have ever experienced nerve pain, you know how debilitating it can be. Trigeminal neuralgia is a type of nerve pain that affects your face, typically in your jaw or cheek. The pain can be sharp or feel like a burning sensation. It can be so severe that you have difficulty eating or drinking.
Most flare-ups begin with tingling or numbness in your face and the pain can come and go. During a flare-up, the bursts of pain are more frequent and almost never stop. The intensity of the pain can make your day-to-day activities unbearable, but the condition itself is not life threatening.
The most common cause of trigeminal neuralgia is a blood vessel pressing against your trigeminal nerve. Rare causes include multiple sclerosis or tumors. This nerve condition is most common in people above 50-years-old and is more common in women than men.
There are multiple symptoms:
Trigeminal neuralgia can be diagnosed by your primary care provider based on your description of your pain. This diagnosis is based on three different factors:
If necessary, your provider can order additional tests. These include a neurological exam or an MRI.
Your facial pain could be caused by a number of different conditions, so accurate diagnosis is important.
Trigeminal neuralgia is treated differently on a case-by-case basis. Treatment typically starts with medications that can help treat your nerve pain. If medications do not work and your pain persists, surgery may be an option. Surgical options for trigeminal neuralgia include procedures that:
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent trigeminal neuralgia. If there are certain activities that trigger your pain more than others, they should be avoided when possible.
Although this condition is not fatal, it can disrupt your life. Talk to your primary care provider about your trigeminal neuralgia pain. Your provider can determine the best pain management method for you.
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