Trigeminal Neuralgia (Facial Nerve Pain)
What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia causes facial pain. Trigeminal neuralgia develops in mid to late life. The condition is the most frequently occurring of all the nerve pain disorders. The pain, which comes and goes, feels like bursts of sharp, stabbing, electric-shocks. This pain can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.
People with trigeminal neuralgia become plagued by intermittent severe pain that interferes with common daily activities such as eating and sleep. They live in fear of unpredictable painful attacks, which leads to sleep deprivation and undereating. The condition can lead to irritability, severe anticipatory anxiety and depression, and life-threatening malnutrition. Suicidal depression is not uncommon.
People often call trigeminal neuralgia "tic douloureux" because of a characteristic muscle spasm that accompanies the pain.
Last Reviewed 11/21/2017
Edward Lubin, MD, PhD
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
James Ungar, MD
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