244 Westchester Avenue, White Plains, NY
Alain C. J. de Lotbinière, MD, CM, FACS, FRCSC

About Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal NerveWhat is Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN)?

If you have ever suffered from excruciating and persistent facial pain, you may be afflicted with a disorder called Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN). This chronic condition affects the trigeminal nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head. TN can occur at any age, though it most frequently occurs in people over fifty.

The pain caused by TN can become so severe, that you may have difficulty eating, swallowing, or even speaking. Some people describe the pain as “searing — like a severe electrical shock” in the face or jaw. Unfortunately, these attacks tend to get worse over time, sometimes to the point of incapacitating you, especially if the condition is not treated.

What are the symptoms?
Usually, there is a burst of electric-like shooting pain or, on occasion, a burning sensation in a small area of the face. It can occur on your cheek, nose, lips, teeth, or even your forehead – any area that is supplied by the trigeminal nerve.

You also may experience:

  • attacks of pain that spread to adjacent areas on the same side of the face;
  • tingling or numbness in the face before pain develops;
  • cluster attacks of pain that may continue for days, weeks, or months.

The mere touching of this zone, whether it’s washing your face, brushing your teeth, or shaving can trigger the pain. Chewing can also lead to severe pain. If the pain prevents you from eating and drinking, you should seek medical help immediately.

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