What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia?

If you’re suffering from a severe form of unexplained pain in your face and head, you may be suffering from trigeminal neuralgia. Here’s what you should know about this condition and how to treat it.

Based on what patients report, some researchers believe that trigeminal neuralgia pain may be some of the worst you can experience. Trigeminal neuralgia pain relates to the trigeminal nerve in your head, or one of its branches. As you can see in the following diagram, the trigeminal nerve crosses your face. It transmits impulses from the nerves in your face to your brain. Pain occurs from damage or inflammation in an area of this nerve.

With trigeminal neuralgia, you’ll experience chronic pain in this region that can be caused by even slight stimulation to your face. Often, people suffer from excruciating, unbearable pain from the simplest triggers.

trigeminal nerve

The exact source of trigeminal neuralgia is unclear. In some cases physicians may be able to trace it back to an earlier injury or damage to the nerves.

Trigeminal neuralgia vs. migraines

Many people with trigeminal neuralgia are incorrectly diagnosed with migraines. The two conditions share some symptoms, but they’re not the same. People who suffer from both conditions may experience sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, or vomiting.

Migraine headaches are unbearably painful and are typically felt one side of the head behind the eye, thought. A large portion of migraines happen on just the left or right side of the head. Approximately 16% of adults in the United States suffer from migraine headache. Migraines will typically last for a few hours or longer.

Head pain linked with trigeminal neuralgia, on the other hand, is commonly sporadic and short-lived. While environmental triggers do contribute to migraines (such as weather or diet) they’re not directly linked to tactile triggers. With trigeminal neuralgia, you may feel pain from simply wiping your face or running a shower jet over it. Those who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia are typically women between the ages of 18 and 44 years.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Causes

The cause trigeminal neuralgia pain is the result of injury to the trigeminal nerves. When we say injury, this could mean inflammation, damage, or some other traumatic event.

Some individuals may experience trigeminal neuralgia following a facial injury. In other cases, damage may be associated with other conditions, l