Facial Pain Treatment
What is trigeminal neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a disease that leads to sudden and acute pain in some areas of the face. TN results from a complication with the trigeminal nerve – a nerve that runs from the brain to the face.
What are the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia?
TN results in sharp and stinging pain in the cheek, lower face, or surrounding the eye. The pain persists for a few seconds to a few minutes, and normally occurs on just 1 side of the face. TN can also cause muscle spasms in the face that happen at the same time as the pain. Most people with TN have repeated episodes of pain.
Most of the time, some movements or activities can cause the pain attacks to occur. These are:
- Touching the face
- Brushing the teeth
- Cold air on the face
Will I need tests?
Perhaps. Medical professionals should be able to determine if you have TN by assessing your symptoms and conducting exams.
He or she might perform tests to obtain more details about your TN or the causes of it. These tests can entail:
- An MRI or CT scan of your brain – These are imaging tests that can create pictures of your brain
- Tests to check how the nerves and muscles in your face are working
Treatment for trigeminal neuralgia
TN is often treated with medicine. Doctors can use various forms of medicines to treat TN. Most of the time doctors prescribe a form of medicine frequently used to stop seizures, called antiepileptics. These medicines quiet the nerve signals that generate pain in TN.
For the majority of individuals, the medicine lowers the frequency of TN attacks and relieves their pain. But if medicines are not effective enough or result in excessive side effects, your doctor might ask you to consider alternative treatment options. These entail different types of procedures that quiet the nerve and reduce its tendency to fire. These minimally invasive treatments are very effective in reducing the intensity and the frequency of attacks. In many instances, they have even been shown to produce complete relief.