What is Trigeminal neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia is a nerve disorder also called as tic douloureux. It is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, the nerve which is one of the most wide-reaching nerves in the head and carries sensation from your face to your brain. Trigeminal neuralgia results in a sudden, intense facial pain, especially in the lower face and jaw and around the nose, eyes, ears, or lips. Trigeminal neuralgia is believed to be one of the most painful human conditions.
What are the causes of Trigeminal neuralgia?
In trigeminal neuralgia, the function of trigeminal nerve is mostly disrupted. Generally, the problem is a contact between a normal blood vessel (an artery or a vein) and the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain. This contact leads to put a pressure on the nerve and eventually force it to malfunction.
Moreover, this problem can occur as a result of aging, or it can be related to multiple sclerosis (a disorder that damages the myelin sheath protecting nerves) as well. Additionally, a tumor compressing the trigeminal nerve can also be a reason.
In few cases, people might experience trigeminal neuralgia because of a brain lesion or other abnormalities. Apart from it, sometimes, surgical injuries, stroke or facial trauma can also lead to trigeminal neuralgia.
What are the Symptoms of Trigeminal neuralgia?
The symptoms of Trigeminal neuralgia probably will include one or more of these:
- Pain in certain facial areas including the cheek, jaw, gums, teeth, lips, eyes and forehead.
- A frequent severe, shooting or jabbing pain that often feels like an electric shock.
- Quick pain attacks that are mainly triggered by things like touching the face, speaking, chewing or brushing teeth.
- Episodes of numerous attacks that lasts days, weeks, months or even longer than that.
- Regular aching, feeling of burning that might occur before it develops into the spasm-like pain of trigeminal neuralgia.
- Pain in one side of the face; however in very few cases it can affect both sides of the face.
- Pain focused in one point or spread in a wider pattern
How is trigeminal neuralgia diagnosed?
Trigeminal neuralgia has a clinical diagnosis and generally no testing is needed after the doctor analysed the history of the problem and undergoes a physical examination.
The health care expert might conduct many tests to diagnose trigeminal neuralgia including a neurological examination. Some doctors may order an MRI scan of your head to help diagnose any other conditions that can cause trigeminal neuralgia. In certain cases, doctor can inject a dye into a blood vessel to check the veins and blood flow.
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