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Trigeminal Neuralgia (Facial Nerve Pain) (cont.)

What Are the Exams and Tests Used to Diagnose Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Your doctor must rule out a variety of other causes of facial pain besides trigeminal neuralgia, including various unusual forms of headache.

  • Atypical neuralgia
  • Myofascial pain
  • Temporomandibular facial pain
  • Cluster headaches
  • Local disease in the sinuses, jaw, throat, and bones of your head
    • Physical examination of the head will help define other possible causes of this painful syndrome. Physical findings in people with trigeminal neuralgia are normal.
    • A doctor should complete an initial neurological examination to determine the presence of other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, that are associated with nerve pain syndromes like trigeminal neuralgia.
    • Doctors reserve more extensive testing, such as a CT scan or MRI of the head, for people in whom they suspect an associated condition, such as skull or brain tumor, infection, or neurological condition.

Are There Home Remedies for Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Because the pain stems from nerves deep inside your skull, no home remedy is effective.

What Is the Medical Treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia is extremely painful but not life threatening. Thus, a goal of therapy is minimizing dangerous side effects.

Medications used to treat trigeminal neuralgia are those used for many other nerve pain syndromes-drugs originally designed to treat seizures.

These antiseizure agents suppress excessive nerve tissue activity, which is the cause of the painful syndrome. As a result, they are useful in conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia.

Pain specialists use invasive therapy, including nerve blocks, nerve destruction, and nerve decompression techniques, as well as drug therapy to treat trigeminal neuralgia.

  • In some instances, a single injection, or a series of injections, or perhaps one decompressive procedure, will reduce or eliminate the pain and prevent your need for a long course of drug therapy.
  • Injection techniques also can relieve unremitting pain instantly and further confirm the diagnosis.
  • Using real-time X-rays, doctors can target the anatomical origin of the nerve deep in your skull. Then, with a fine needle, they can do one of the following to halt the painful syndrome:
    • Inject that source with anesthetic and steroid.
    • Inject that nerve with a drug used to destroy faulty cells.
    • This procedure can be performed with surprisingly little discomfort.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/24/2016
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Trigeminal Neuralgia »

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a common and potentially disabling pain syndrome, the precise pathophysiology of which remains obscure.

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