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Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN)

What is trigeminal neuralgia (TN)?

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a neurological condition that causes chronic pain in the trigeminal (5th) cranial nerve. There are two types, the typical form, TN1, and the atypical form, TN2. TN1 causes an extreme, burning pain in the face that may continue on and off for two hours. We have heard reports from patients of having TN1 attacks longer than that. TN2 is a constant burning and stabbing that may be less intense than TN1. A patient may suffer from both types. It is worth it to note that TN2 and Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain are not the same thing. TN2 happens spontaneously, and Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain is the result of trauma, such as a dental procedure. Both can cause constant pain. Frequently, TN2 is a progression of TN1. TN typically affects women more than men, in people ages 50 and older, though it has been known to occur in younger people and even babies. It is a rare condition that occurs in about 12 out of 100,000 people.

What are the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia (TN)?

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) symptoms include:
  • Intense electrical-shock-like spasms of pain in the lower face/jaw and nose
  • Dull, short-lived, unilateral pain in the face
  • Pain triggered by brushing teeth, shaving, or hot/cold beverages; sometimes pain is even spontaneously occurring
  • Over time, facial or head contortion
  • Excessive salivating
  • Depression/anxiety

What causes trigeminal neuralgia (TN)?

TN can be caused by multiple sclerosis (MS), a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve, a tumor, tangled arteries, or injury to the trigeminal nerve.

How is trigeminal neuralgia (TN) diagnosed?

TN is diagnosed through physical and neurological examinations, along with a review of the person’s medical history and symptoms. MRIs might also be used to rule out other conditions that cause facial pain.

What are the available treatments for trigeminal neuralgia (TN)?

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) treatments include:
  • Anticonvulsant medications
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Rhizotomy (surgery)
  • Meditation/yoga
  • Psychotherapy

Where can I find out more about trigeminal neuralgia (TN)?

Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) Articles