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Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic and painful condition that affects the
trigeminal nerve. It is considered to be one of the most painful nerve
disorders. The pain involves the lower face and jaw but sometimes can
affect the area around the nose and eyes. The pain has been equated to
an intense stabbing, electric shock like pain.
The pain is caused by irritation of the trigeminal nerve which sends nerve
signals to the forehead, cheek and lower jaw.
The symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia may range from mild to extreme and
may fluctuate in intensity. Even the slightest touch to the face can initiate
symptoms. These symptoms can be one or the combination of the following:
- Occasional bouts of mild pain
- Episodes of severe pain that are triggered from simple things like putting
on make up, touching the face or brushing the teeth.
- Episodes of severe stabbing, shooting or electric shock type pain.
- Pain affecting one side of the face at a time.
- Pain focused in one area or spreading to other surrounding areas.
- Pain that becomes more frequent and intense over a period of time.
The diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia is based mainly on a patients symptoms
and description of pain. The areas of the face that are affected by the
pain will help your doctor determine of the trigeminal nerve is involved.
The symptoms and triggers of the pain will also be discussed to track
what causes the symptoms the most frequently. It is important for your
doctor to perform a full neurological exam to determine if something else
may be causing the pain. Tests such as an MRI may also be ordered to rule
out other conditions.