It is no secret that COVID-19 has turned life as we know it upside down. It has changed everything from hanging out with friends to working to going grocery shopping. For those with rare conditions, this pandemic has an even more unnerving impact. Pat lives with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and wrote about her experience for the Pain News Network.
About Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN)
Trigeminal neuralgia is neurological condition that causes chronic pain. It comes in two forms: TN1 and TN2. One can be affected by both of these types, but TN2 is typically a progression of TN1. This condition causes extreme and burning pain in the face, excessive salivation, depression, anxiety, and facial or head contortion. This pain can be triggered by routine activities such as brushing your teeth, shaving, or drinking a hot beverage. There is not always a trigger; it can occur spontaneously. TN may be caused by multiple things, such as multiple sclerosis, tumors, tangled arteries, an injury to the trigeminal nerve, or a blood vessel pressing on that nerve.
Physical and neurological examinations will be used to find a diagnosis, along with a review of patient history. In order to rule out other conditions, doctors may employ MRIs. Once a diagnosis is obtained, treatment consists of surgery, psychotherapy, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants. Doctors also recommend meditation and yoga.
TN During the Pandemic
Living with a rare condition can be difficult, never mind living with one during a global pandemic. Having TN brings a weakened neurological and immune system, putting patients more at risk for complications from COVID-19. This added risk brings worry, stress, and even a lack of sleep. Not only do these things complicate life, but they can impact the immune system even further. This leads to a cycle of stress that can lead to hopelessness and depression.
Not only does Pat have to worry about that, but she needs to ensure that she gets the proper medical care during this time. The pandemic has put an intense work load on medical professionals, making it so that they are overwhelmed by COVID-19. This makes it more difficult for those with chronic and rare conditions to receive the care they need, despite the urgency of many patients’ cases.
It is these reasons that show why we need to come together as a community during this time and promote hope and progress. Reach out to those close to you, make sure they are okay. Offer assistance to those with rare conditions or comprised immune systems. During this time of worry and stress, it is important to come together.