Unbearable Facial Pain? You May Have Trigeminal Neuralgia

Posted on: 25 April 2019

If you've been experiencing horrific pain on the side of your face, you may have a condition that has been documented as one of the worst pain conditions to have, which is called trigeminal neuralgia. The pain can become so intense that trigeminal neuralgia is often called the suicide disease. While you may not feel that your pain is not that significant, it's important to understand that trigeminal neuralgia is a progressive condition. Here's what you need to know.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

The trigeminal nerve is the fifth cranium nerve, which has three branches: ophthalmic, maxillary, and mandibular. Trigeminal neuralgia is pain in the trigeminal nerve, which can occur in any or all of the branches. While researchers aren't completely certain as to what causes trigeminal neuralgia, it may be from disorders that affect the myelin sheath, which is a protective covering certain nerves have. It may be caused by a tumor pressing against the nerve or damage to the surrounding tissues due to trauma. 


Pain is the only symptom of trigeminal neuralgia. However, the pain is very specific and, therefore, should be easily identifiable. It feels like someone is poking a hot dagger into your face, or your face is being hit with an intense electric shock. The pain is typically triggered by a sensation, such as touching your face or brushing your teeth, or by movement, such as talking or making a facial expression. The pain may last several seconds to several minutes. It may occur multiple times a day for several days or months and then not happen again for a long time. Since it is a progressive condition, the frequency and intensity will increase over time.

Pain Management

Since the pain is so extremely specific, the condition can be diagnosed rather quickly if you get evaluated by the appropriate medical specialist, which is a neurosurgeon or a neurologist. Upon diagnosis, you will begin pain management with medication. Typically, anticonvulsants are prescribed for trigeminal neuralgia due to the effects this type of medication has on controlling nerves and the premise that the trigeminal nerve somewhat convulses during a pain episode.

There are no medications that relieve the pain of an attack once one has begun. You and your medical team must find the appropriate medications to manage your pain and you must take your prescriptions right on time every time in order to have some relief. Since the condition is progressive, there will be a point in time that you may be considered a candidate for surgical intervention by a neurosurgeon. 

Contact a clinic like Southwest Florida Neurosurgical & Rehab Associates for more information.