Imagine having a root canal without anesthesia. That's similar to the pain experienced by people with trigeminal neuralgia, a rare disorder that affects about 12 of every 100,000 people annually. While it can strike anyone, trigeminal neuralgia is most common in people older than 50 and occurs more often in women than men. If you're experiencing excruciating facial pain, Adam Lewis, MD, a neurosurgeon at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic in Flowood, Mississippi, can help. Call the office or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment today.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that causes electrical shock-like sensations on one side of the face. The pain affects the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for carrying sensations from your face to your brain. If you have trigeminal neuralgia, you may experience severe pain from mild facial stimulation such as putting on makeup, brushing your teeth, or kissing someone.
Trigeminal neuralgia is most commonly caused by an issue between an artery or vein and the trigeminal nerve at the base of your brain. The abnormal contact puts pressure on the nerve, which leads to nerve malfunction that causes pain.
Less common causes of trigeminal neuralgia include multiple sclerosis or other disorders affecting the myelin sheath of the spinal cord nerves, a tumor that compresses the trigeminal nerve, brain lesions, surgical injuries, or stroke.
At first, trigeminal neuralgia symptoms may involve episodes of severe pain that last for a few seconds to several minutes. The pain may feel like an electric shock and come out of nowhere or may result from touching your face, brushing your teeth, or chewing.
Over time, the pain attacks may become more intense or frequent. Trigeminal neuralgia can be focused in one spot or spread out in a wider pattern, but it tends to affect one side of your face at a time. All areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve can be impacted, including:
People with trigeminal neuralgia rarely experience pain while sleeping and may have pain that comes and goes, with no discomfort for long periods in between.
Medications provide relief for many people with trigeminal neuralgia. Over time, though, medication may become less effective or cause side effects. Other possible treatment options include injections or surgery.
If you have trigeminal neuralgia caused by another disorder, like multiple sclerosis, your doctor treats the underlying condition to relieve the symptoms.
Call the office or schedule an appointment online to determine if your facial pain is caused by trigeminal neuralgia.