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trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), also known as tic douloureux, is an acute, piercing, electric shock-like pain in the those regions of the face served by the Trigeminal (5th) Cranial Nerve (CN V). CN V serves three areas of the face the forehead and eye, the cheek and the jaw. TN can affect some or all of these areas usually on one side of the face although more rarely (in about 5% of cases) it is bilateral. Episodes of TN can last anything from a few seconds to a few minutes or very occasionally longer and can be triggered by a number of factors including laughing, chewing, brushing the teeth, talking, wind on the face or even touching the face.

Trigeminal Neuralgia is not an uncommon symptom of multiple sclerosis although there are a number of other causes. In MS, TN is often accompanied by feelings of numbness or paraesthesia. In multiple sclerosis, the most likely cause of Trigeminal Neuralgia is lesion damage to the Pons region of the Brainstem where the 5th cranial nerve arises.

Trigeminal Neuralgia is one of the more painful conditions to have to live with and can eat into the fibre of your soul. It is often chronic and, not surprisingly, often associated with depression. Some suggestions by people coping with TN include:

Some people with TN report beneficial effects from alterative therapies including acupuncture, chiropractic adjustment, self-hypnosis and meditation.

Drug treatments of Trigeminal Neuralgia include Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Phenytoin (Dilantin), Baclofen (Lioresal), Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), Clonazepam (Klonopin), lamotrig-ine (Lamictal) and Neurontin.

Microsurgical methods to relieve pressure on the nerve or to reduce nerve sensitivity have been quite successful.

Trigeminal Neuralgia links:
Facial Neuralgia Resources: Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal Neuralgia: University of Pittsburgh
Trigeminal Neuralgia Association Homepage
Trigeminal Neuralgia - You're Not Alone!


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