Do You Have Questions About Trigeminal Neuralgia?
What is trigeminal neuralgia? If you’ve never heard of this condition before, that’s probably the first question you have. Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a nerve condition that causes severe pain. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with TN, it’s important to understand as much as possible about it. This article is going to answer a few commonly asked questions about TN.
What is trigeminal neuralgia? Many people don’t understand TN, leading them to ask “what is trigeminal neuralgia?” Well, trigeminal neuralgia is a disorder of the trigeminal nerve in the brain. The trigeminal nerve is one of 12 pairs of nerves that are attached to the human brain. The trigeminal nerve consists of three branches, which direct sensations from the face and oral cavity to the brain. When this nerve is damaged, it can cause severe facial pain. While trigeminal neuralgia pain varies among patients, all patients report symptoms like:
- Sharp, stabbing pain in the cheek or jaw
- Pain caused by touching the face or teeth
- Brief periods of relief between painful episodes
What causes trigeminal neuralgia? Unfortunately, there is no one cause of this condition. TN may be caused by a blood vessel pressing against the trigeminal nerve. If this happens, the pulse of an artery rubbing against the nerve can slowly wear away the insulation. In doing this, the nerve is left exposed and can be overly sensitive to touch. Other causes of trigeminal neuralgia may include multiple sclerosis or a tumor near the nerve.
How is trigeminal neuralgia diagnosed? A trigeminal neuralgia diagnosis generally begins with the patient describing their pain to a physician. From there, the physician will rule out other causes of the pain by running tests, completing a physical exam, and looking at the patient’s medical history. When TN is suspected, the physician will recommend tests that will check for a tumor or multiple sclerosis. Depending on the results of those tests, the physician may order advanced MRI tests that can see if there is a blood vessel pressing against the trigeminal nerve.
Are there treatment options for trigeminal neuralgia? With today’s technology and knowledge, there are options for trigeminal neuralgia pain relief. Treatment and pain management will depend on each individual condition but one method that is gaining popularity is ultrasound therapy. Unlike surgery or other treatment options, ultrasound therapy can directly affect the blood vessel that’s causing the damage and can help alleviate pain. This treatment option is completely safe and can provide long-term relief without negative side effects.
Hopefully, this article has provided some clarification on what trigeminal neuralgia is. With the right diagnosis and treatment options, those who suffer from TN can begin to manage their pain and return back to a pain-free life.