What is it?

the trigeminal nerve is responsible for carrying the sensation of pain and other sensations from the face to the brain. There are two separate trigeminal nerves, one on each side of the face. Each nerve has three branches (forehead, midface, and chin).
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is characterized by recurrent brief episodes of unilateral electric shock-like pains, abrupt in onset and termination, in the distribution of one or more branches of the trigeminal nerve.
In many cases, the cause of TN is unknown. In some cases, however, an underlying cause is found, such as a tumor or a swollen blood vessel that puts pressure on the nerve, or multiple sclerosis.

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Signs & symptoms

The pain of trigeminal neuralgia is often described as electric, shock-like, or stabbing.
It is usually unilateral and lasts from one to several seconds, but may occur repetitively up to dozens of times a day. Some patients with longstanding TN may have continuous dull pain that is present between attacks of pain.
The pain can be brought on by mild stimulation of the face, such as brushing your teeth, shaving or touching your face.
Most people with TN experience symptoms in cycles - pain comes and goes for days or weeks, and then subsides.


The diagnosis of TN is based upon the characteristic clinical features. Your doctor will first evaluate your medical history and perform a physical exam. This will include a neurological exam to determine which part of the trigeminal nerve is being affected. They will touch various parts of your face to determine the location of the pain.
Once the diagnosis of TN is suspected on clinical grounds, a search for secondary underlying causes may be undertaken. This may include, for example, a head imaging with MRI or CT.


treatment may include:
* medication – typically anti-seizure medications
* surgery - the choice among surgical options will be influenced by individual circumstances.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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