What is Trigeminal Neuralgia ?
Trigeminal Neuralgia or facial pain is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve which carries sensation from the face to the brain. It is caused by inflammation of one of the three parts of the fifth cranial nerve. If you have this condition, then you may experience a massive jolt or excruciating pain even if you are brushing your teeth or putting makeup.
In this problem, the issue is the contact between a normal blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain. It can occur naturally due to aging or multiple sclerosis. Some people may be suffered from this problem due to a brain lesion or other abnormalities. The symptoms of this condition include the following patterns –
- A phase of excruciating pain that feels like an electric shock.
- Touching the face, chewing, speaking or brushing teeth leading to spontaneous attacks.
- There are bouts of pain which last from a few seconds to several minutes.
- Constant aching, burning feeling that may occur before it evolves into the spasm like pain.
- Attacks which grow in numbers and intensity over time.
- Pain and discomfort supplied by the trigeminal nerve including cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, lips etc.
- Attacks may last many days which may turn into weeks and months.
Course In Hospital
Many people who are suffering from this condition starts with medications and don’t need additional treatment. Medicines are given to lessen or block the pain signals sent to your brain. Doctors usually prescribe anticonvulsants for treating this condition. Some anticonvulsant drugs include carbamazepine, Trileptal, lamotrigine, and phenytoin. Antispasmodic agents such as baclofen may be combined with carbamazepine.
Gamma knife surgery is the most preferred surgery to treat Trigeminal Neuralgia. In this procedure, a focused dose of radiation is directed to the root of the trigeminal nerve. Radiations are used to damage the trigeminal nerve and reduce or eliminate pain. Another type of surgery used is in the name of Microvascular Decompression. In this procedure, the blood vessels which are in contact with the trigeminal root are relocated or removed to stop the nerve from malfunctioning. It successfully eliminates pain in most of the people but pain can recur in some people.
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