03 Dec An Overview Of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that causes chronic pain. The trigeminal nerve for which the condition is named carries messages from your face to your brain. Those who suffer from the condition may experience excruciating pain, even when only mild stimulation is applied to any area of the face. During the early phases of the condition, the pain is often experienced in short, mild attacks. As the condition progresses, however, the pain is likely to become more intense and last for longer periods of time.
Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia occurs due to a disruption to the function of the nerve. Contact between the nerve at the base of the brain and an artery or vein causes pressure on the nerve, leading to a malfunction. The condition can occur in response to aging or in combination with disorders like multiple sclerosis that cause damage to the myelin sheath that protects the nerves. Trigeminal neuralgia sometimes occurs in people with brain lesions but it can also occur without any known cause being found.
People with trigeminal neuralgia may have one or more of the following symptoms:
• Twinges of mild pain
• Spontaneous attacks of severe pain from mild stimulation to the face
• Severe shooting or jabbing pain that may feel like being shocked by electricity
• Pain that lasts anywhere from a few to several seconds
• Episodes of pain attacks that may last days, months, or even longer
• Pain on one side of the face
• Pain in those areas where the trigeminal nerve supplies feeling, such as the teeth, cheek, lips or the forehead and eyes
• Increasingly more frequent attacks of pain
• Pain that is located in a single spot or wider pattern
Simple daily activities like washing your face, talking to someone or smiling are enough to cause an attack of pain.
Diagnosing Trigeminal Neuralgia
Many chronic pain conditions are diagnosed based on an evaluation of the pain that you are having. When diagnosing trigeminal neuralgia, the type of pain, where it is located, and what triggers your pain are considered. A number of tests may be performed to determine what underlying conditions might be causing your condition. A neurological exam will determine which areas of the trigeminal nerve have been affected and an MRI may be used to test for signs of multiple sclerosis.
Treating Trigeminal Neuralgia
Treatment for trigeminal neuralgia is to treat the pain. Pain management doctors typically use Gabapentine as the primary pharmacological treatment. This medication is an anticonvulsant that has been shown effective in treating the pain of trigeminal neuralgia as well. Trigeminal nerve blocks are another option along with glycerol or phenol injections. There is also a radiofrequency procedure that is sometimes used to treat the condition.
Seattle Pain Relief offers a variety of treatment options for trigeminal neuralgia and facial pain. The Double Board Certified pain doctors treat patients with the best treatment options for their specific conditions and situation. Seattle Pain Relief offers the pain management treatments that Seattle has come to trust.