Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a medical condition that causes mild to severe pains in the face. More often than not, this condition affects women rather than men and typically it is seen in women older than 50 years of age.

It may sound strange, but the feeling of severe pain shooting through the face is the main symptom of trigeminal neuralgia. Some people may suffer from mild twinges of pain in the beginning then have increased pain as the condition worsens. These pains can come and go briefly or last for several minutes at a time. The pain is said to be comparable to the feeling of an electrical shock. It is possible to notice pains on only one side of the face or both side equally. These bouts of pain can be brought on by simple things such as brushing ones teeth, talking, drinking, chewing, shaving, smiling or just touching the face. The pain is usually in the areas that involve the trigeminal nerve and include the jaw, teeth, lips, gums, cheek, or at times the eyes and forehead.

People who suffer from this condition are often frightened by the sudden pain and become worried that the pain will strike in a public situation or that the pains will never go away. These pains can come in episodes that last days or weeks with times in between in which the pain subsides.

The reason this condition occurs is due to pressure on the trigeminal nerve. Most people are protected from this because their myelin sheath protects their nerve endings. When someone has trigeminal neuralgia their normal artery and trigeminal nerve are contacting at the base of the brain. This causes too much pressure on the trigeminal nerve and causes it to become sensitive. This can be caused by the aging process or any disorder that disrupts or causes damage to the myelin sheathe that protects particular nerves. A common disorder that can cause this would be multiple sclerosis. Also, tumors can be the reason for the trigeminal nerve to have increased pressure.

The good news is that once a person is diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, treatments are usually available. The first course of treatment usually consists of trying to control the symptoms with medications. For most people with trigeminal neuralgia, medications often offer positive results. There are some that develop side effects to the medications or stop responding to the effects of the medication and at that point another method of treatment may become necessary.

Medications, such as anticonvulsants and antispasticity agents, are usually the first line of treatment used for trigeminal neuralgia. Many eople are successfully treated with medication and require no surgical treatment. However, over time some people with the disorder eventually stop responding to medications, or they experience unpleasant side effects from the medicines used. For those people, the options of having injections or surgery provide other forms of treatment. There are several types of surgical procedures that can be used to treat trigeminal neuralgia as well as injections into the nerves to help with pain management.

For people suffering from trigeminal neuralgia, it is important to know that you do have options in treating this painful condition. If you are noticing symptoms and pain that sound similar to that of trigeminal neuralgia, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible. It is best to get a diagnosis and start treatments during the beginning signs of the condition to prevent it from worsening and becoming unbearable. Your doctor will be able to determine the severity of your condition and what type of treatment will best suit you.

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Last updated on May 30th, 2009 and filed under Neurological Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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