What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Trigeminal Neuralgia is nerve pain generated by the trigeminal nerve, which branches out to the mouth, check and jaw areas. As the primary sensory nerve in the human face, any movement of the cheek, jaw, teeth, gums and lips can trigger painful sensations, most often on one side of the face or other. For some with Trigeminal Neuralgia, the forehead and eyes may also be affected. TN is a condition that makes everyday functions seem like torture, such as brushing your teeth, shaving, putting on your makeup - even smiling or kissing someone you love.

Sometimes Trigeminal Neuralgia pain can feel penetrating, like an electric shock; other times it feels more moderate. But in any case, the mere possibility that you could experience pain when moving your face is nearly as bad as the actual pain itself. Because TN can be random and episodic, how you might feel is unpredictable every day, making it fraught with chronic anxiety. As a result, the mere threat of pain - either perceived or real - is psychologically debilitating for many of those who suffer from Trigeminal Neuralgia.

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The trigeminal nerve is one of 12 pairs of cranial nerves that branch out on either side of your face. The trigeminal nerve (Cranial Nerve  V) is responsible for your ability to feel many of your facial sensations.


Types of Trigeminal Neuralgia

There are two types of Trigeminal Neuralgia:

In Type I, also known as Classic Trigeminal Neuraglia, there are defined periods of remission. Type I TN patients describe the pain as sharp, shock-like and/ or throbbing. Specific facial activities or facial touching usually prompts the pain associated with Type I Trigeminal Neuralgia.

In Type II, aka known as Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia, the pain is more pervasive in the facial area and is present as a chronic burning sensation that may or may not go into a remission period. The complexity of Type II TN can make it more difficult to treat. 

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© 2018 Dr.Patrick Giammarise, DC, All Rights Reserved.