Trigeminal neuralgia is a nerve disorder that causes a stabbing or electric-shock-like pain in parts of the face.
The pain of trigeminal neuralgia comes from the trigeminal nerve. This nerve carries pain, feeling, and other sensations from the brain to the skin of the face. It can affect part or all of the face, and the surface of the eye.
The condition usually affects older adults, but it may affect anyone at any age. Trigeminal neuralgia may be part of the normal aging process.
Trigeminal neuralgia may be caused by:
Often, no specific cause is found.
Doctors are more likely to find a cause if the patient is younger than age 40.
A neurologic examination is usually normal.
Tests that are done to look for the cause of the problem include:
Your primary care physician, a neurologist, or a pain specialist may be involved in your care.
Certain medicines sometimes help reduce pain and the rate of attacks. These medicines include:
Some patients may need surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve. Techniques include:
How well you do depends on the cause of the problem. If there is no underlying disease, some people find that treatment provides at least partial relief.
However, the pain may become constant and severe in some patients.