What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
, also called tic douloureux, is a condition that affects the trigeminal nerve (the 5th cranial nerve), one of the largest nerves in the head.
Signs and Symptoms
An attack of trigeminal neuralgia can last from a few seconds to about a minute. Some people have mild, occasional twinges of pain, while other people have frequent, severe, electric-shock-like pain. The condition tends to come and go. You may experience attacks of pain off and on all day, or even for days or weeks at a time. Then, you may experience no pain for a prolonged period of time. Remission is less common the longer you have trigeminal neuralgia.
People who have experienced severe trigeminal neuralgia have described the pain as:
• Like having live wires in your face
• Stroking your face
• Brushing your teeth
• Putting on makeup
• Encountering a breeze
2. Is there any treatment?
Treatment for trigeminal neuralgia typically includes anticonvulsant medications such as
• Valproic acid
may also be effective and may be used in combination to achieve pain relief. If medication fails to relieve pain, surgical treatment may be recommended.
3. What is the prognosis?
The disorder is characterized by recurrences and remissions, and successive recurrences may incapacitate the patient. Due to the intensity of the pain, even the fear of an impending attack may prevent activity. Trigeminal neuralgia is not fatal.