Is Trigeminal Neuralgia A Serious Pain Condition?

Trigeminal neuralgia mostly affects people at ages over 50. The condition becomes more common in women than men. The common cause of the condition is facial pain, and it is diagnosed in about 15,000 people yearly, particularly in the U.S.

Trigeminal neuralgia pain can be extremely severe, although the condition is not life-threatening, the pain’s intensity is debilitating. Trigeminal neuralgia relief can be possible. The pain is controllable with trigeminal neuralgia treatment.

Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by pain that comes from the trigeminal nerve that starts near the top of the ear and splits in three, such as:

  • eye
  • cheek
  • jaw

There are two trigeminal nerves on each side of the face. But, the trigeminal neuralgia pain affects only one side. The trigeminal neuralgia pain is not like the facial pain that is caused by other problems. It is described as:

  • stabbing
  • lancinating
  • electrical in sensation

The conditions can be so severe that the affected person can’t eat or drink. The pain will travel through the face in just seconds, but when the condition progresses, the pain will last minutes and can be longer. The trigeminal is often called tic douloureux.

Trigeminal neuralgia causes

Trigeminal neuralgia is associated with:

  • Facial trauma
  • Dental procedures

The condition is caused by a blood vessel that presses against the trigeminal nerve, known as vascular compression. For overtime, the artery pulse rubbing against the nerve wears away the insulation called myelin, which leaves the nerve exposed and highly sensitive. Also, the resulting symptoms can be the same as those caused by dental issues, and people with undiagnosed trigeminal neuralgia may explore multiple detailed procedures to control the pain.

Tumors or multiple sclerosis can also cause trigeminal neuralgia.

Trigeminal neuralgia pain areas

The trigeminal nerve will split off into three branches, namely:

  • Ophthalmic
  • Maxillary
  • Mandibular

Each branch provides sensation to the different facial areas. It depends on which branch and nerve part is irritated. The trigeminal neuralgia pain is felt anywhere on the face. It is most commonly felt in the face’s lower part. The pain intensity is exceptional.

Some report it as more intense than experiencing a heart attack. The flare-ups of trigeminal neuralgia continue for a few weeks or months, which is followed by a pain-free period that lasts a year or more. Although the trigeminal pain seems to disappear, it can come back often with more severe pain.

So, it is always important to know the treatment for TN.