Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia can result, bringing a sudden burning, or shock-like facial pain.

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic pain condition of the 5th cranial nerve. The “typical” form of Trigeminal Neuralgia causes an extreme, sudden burning of the face, or a facial pain described as “shock-like.”  This pain can last for seconds, or minutes per episode, with the episodes occurring in succession. The “atypical” form of Trigeminal Neuralgia brings a constant pain that is often described as stabbing, burning and aching. As bad as this is, it is usually less intense than the “typical” type of Trigeminal Neuralgia. Sometimes a person can have typical and atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia, but whether you have one or both, the pain of Trigeminal Neuralgia can be physically and mentally debilitating.  

Causes and Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia

While experts are not certain what causes Trigeminal Neuralgia, one cause may be blood vessels pressing on the trigeminal nerve. This type of repeated compression, can damage the myelin sheath which houses the nerve. More rarely, Trigeminal Neuralgia could be the result of a tumor, which is compressing the nerve, or a malformation of the arteries and veins. Finally, if the trigeminal nerves suffers damage from a surgical procedure, facial trauma or stroke, Trigeminal Neuralgia can result.

The symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia vary from patient to patient, however it is most often described as one or more of the following:

  • A burning sensation in the face
  • A constant aching in the face
  • A sudden, severe stabbing pain in the face
  • A flash of pain triggered by contact with the cheek
  • Little to no pain at night
  • Attacks of pain that come and go

Patients with chronic Trigeminal Neuralgia may find themselves avoiding social situations and daily activities in response to the disorder. Those over the age of 50 are the most likely age group to develop Trigeminal Neuralgia, and women are more likely to develop the disorder than men.  

Diagnosis of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Along with your medical history and a description of your symptoms, your doctor may order an MRI scan to rule out other disorders. A positive response to an anti-seizure medication could definitively diagnose Trigeminal Neuralgia as could a positive response to a low dose of a tricyclic antidepressant medication.

Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia

At Seattle Pain, the experienced interventional pain management specialists will evaluate your symptoms, developing a comprehensive pain treatment program which will allow you to get back to your regular life. At Seattle Pain, we may employ one or more of the following treatments on our behalf:

  • Stronger pain medications
  • Nerve blocks

Are you suffering from intense or burning facial pain?

Contact Our Pain Management Specialists

Intense and burning facial pain caused by Trigeminal Neuralgia can be difficult to treat. At Seattle Pain, we can relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. We believe in treating the whole patient – and not just the illness or injury. You do not have to live in pain. Call us today at 253-944-1289 or complete a contact form today.

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