Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from your face to your brain. Usually, this condition occurs when a blood vessel (artery or vein) and the trigeminal nerve at the base of your brain make contact. This contact puts pressure on the nerve and causes it to malfunction.

Overview and Symptoms
Common symptoms include short, mild bursts of pain that may feel like an electric shock to your face. The pain can last a few seconds to several minutes. Even mild stimulation to the face—such as brushing your teeth or putting on makeup—can trigger the pain. The spontaneous attacks can become more frequent and intense over time.

Trigeminal neuralgia is more common in women, and is more likely to occur in people who are over 50.

Certain conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a tumor, can injure the protective coating of the trigeminal nerve. An MRI can help diagnose either of these conditions and their relation to your pain.

Your doctor may also conduct a neurological exam, including touching various parts of your face.

Treatment at BIDMC

Common symptoms include short, mild bursts of pain that may feel like an electric shock to your face. The pain can last a few seconds to several minutes. Even mild stimulation to the face—such as brushing your teeth or putting on makeup—can trigger the pain. The spontaneous attacks can become more frequent and intense over time.

Trigeminal neuralgia is more common in women, and is more likely to occur in people who are over 50.

Certain conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a tumor, can injure the protective coating of the trigeminal nerve. An MRI can help diagnose either of these conditions and their relation to your pain.

Your doctor may also conduct a neurological exam, including touching various parts of your face.

Learn More

The Arnold-Warfield Pain Center provides comprehensive care and leading-edge treatments for patients with chronic and complex pain conditions

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