Trigeminal Neuralgia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Trigeminal Neuralgia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve, which transmits sensation from the face to the brain. If you have trigeminal neuralgia, light activities such as brushing your teeth or wearing makeup can trigger excruciating pain. 

Trigeminal neuralgia affects women more often than men and is common in people over the age of 50.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Symptom

Pain can attack the forehead, cheeks, upper or lower jaw, and tongue. The pain is usually felt in a single point on the face, but it can spread across the face. This condition can easily be triggered by things like touching your face, chewing, talking, and brushing your teeth.

The pain that occurs is usually very severe and feels like an electric shock so that the patient suffers a lot. Pain often also causes involuntary muscle contractions in the face, facial redness, and salivation and tears. Pain attacks can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.

If you experience facial pain, especially one that is prolonged or recurring or that isn’t relieved by painkillers, contact your doctor immediately.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Reason

Trigeminal neuralgia is caused by impaired function of the trigeminal nerve. Usually, the problem is contact between a normal blood vessel—in this case, an artery or vein—and the trigeminal nerve at the base of your brain. This contact compresses the nerves and causes them to malfunction.  

Trigeminal neuralgia can occur with the aging process, or it can be related to multiple sclerosis or similar disorders that damage the myelin sheaths that protect certain nerves. Although rare, trigeminal neuralgia can also be caused by a tumor pressing on the trigeminal nerve.

Some people may experience trigeminal neuralgia due to a brain lesion or other disorder. In other cases, stroke or facial trauma may be partly responsible for trigeminal neuralgia.


Your doctor will diagnose trigeminal neuralgia based on a description of your pain, such as:

  • type. Trigeminal neuralgia pain is usually sudden and brief.
  • Location. The location of the pain can determine whether the pain is caused by trigeminal neuralgia or not.
  • Trigger. Trigeminal neuralgia pain is usually caused by mild stimulation of the cheeks, for example when eating, talking, even being exposed to cool wind.

In addition, the doctor may carry out supporting examinations to determine the cause of your condition. These investigations include a neurological examination and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment

The initial treatment of trigeminal neuralgia is generally medication. However, over time, some people no longer respond well to medications or experience unpleasant side effects. For them, injections or surgery can be an option. If your condition is caused by something else, such as multiple sclerosis, your doctor will treat the underlying condition.

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