Trigeminal neuralgia is a medical condition that causes pain-like sensation at one side of the face. This feels the same as an electric shock. Every year around 1,50,000 Americans are diagnosed with this medical condition. It is usually seen in women more than men and in an age group of 50 and older.
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What is a trigeminal neuralgia?
It is a condition which affects the nerves (trigeminal) of the face connecting to the brain. In this case, you might feel the pain even with the slight stimulation to your face in situations like brushing your teeth or even doing make-up. It would start with mild and shorter attack that can increase with time.
The good news is you can manage these symptoms with proper medications, injections, and in some cases surgery. At South Valley Neurology you have the best doctors who can do a timely evaluation, diagnosis, and treatments. They have been proudly serving all the residents of the Bay Area since the time 2011.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Symptoms
There can be one or many of these pattern that you can see:
- You might feel severe jabbing or shooting pain that might feel like getting an electric shock.
- There might be pain or attacks by certain things like touching the face, chewing, speaking, or even brushing teeth.
- The pain can last for a few seconds to minutes
- Occurrences with facial spasms
- Pain in the areas that are connected to the trigeminal nerve like the cheek, teeth, jaw, gums, lips, forehead, and eye
- Pain at one side of the face
- Experiencing pain at only one spot or it is spread in a wider pattern.
- Pain while sleeping in the night
- Frequent and intense attack during nighttime
What are the causes?
This is also called the tic douloureux where the trigeminal nerve function is disrupted. The main problem is the disruption of the contact between the normal blood vessel like the artery or vein and the nerve at the base of your brain. This contact puts pressure on the nerve and causes it to malfunction.
Apart from the compression in the blood vessels, the other causes of trigeminal neuralgia include multiple sclerosis or similar disorders, tumor, surgical injuries, stroke, or facial trauma.
What are the treatments?
Depending on your condition and symptoms, your doctor may recommend certain treatments like:
Radiosurgery: Where radiation is directed to the root of your trigeminal nerve that can reduce your sensation of pain.
Radiofrequency ablation: RF disables the nerve fibers that are responsible for the pain. Here the needle is inserted through the base of the skull and an electric current is passed through it which can cause a tingling sensation that moves through the nerves. This helps the doctor to locate the section of the nerve that causes pain and damages it with heat energy.
Microvascular decompression: Here the doctor will make an incision behind your ear and a small hole in your skull where the pain comes from. Then the doctor will place a cushion-like object to carefully separate the arteries from your trigeminal nerve. If there are any veins in contact then the doctor will remove them entirely.
Remember this condition is not something life threatening but it can affect your life in some or the other way. So, you need to take care of it at the earliest.