Trigeminal Neuralgia Information Page

Trigeminal Neuralgia Information Page


Search Disorders

What research is being done?

Within the NINDS research programs, trigeminal neuralgia is addressed primarily through studies associated with pain research. NINDS vigorously pursues a research program seeking new treatments for pain and nerve damage with the ultimate goal of reversing debilitating conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia. NINDS has notified research investigators that it is seeking grant applications both in basic and clinical pain research.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Trigeminal Neuralgia

×
What research is being done?

Within the NINDS research programs, trigeminal neuralgia is addressed primarily through studies associated with pain research. NINDS vigorously pursues a research program seeking new treatments for pain and nerve damage with the ultimate goal of reversing debilitating conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia. NINDS has notified research investigators that it is seeking grant applications both in basic and clinical pain research.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Trigeminal Neuralgia

Within the NINDS research programs, trigeminal neuralgia is addressed primarily through studies associated with pain research. NINDS vigorously pursues a research program seeking new treatments for pain and nerve damage with the ultimate goal of reversing debilitating conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia. NINDS has notified research investigators that it is seeking grant applications both in basic and clinical pain research.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Trigeminal Neuralgia


Definition
Definition
Treatment
Treatment
Prognosis
Prognosis
Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials
Organizations
Organizations
Publications
Publications
Definition
Definition

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a chronic pain condition that causes extreme, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like face pain. The pain seldom lasts more than a few seconds or a minute or two per episode. The intensity of pain can be physically and mentally incapacitating. TN pain is typically felt on one side of the jaw or cheek. Episodes can last for days, weeks, or months at a time and then disappear for months or years. In the days before an episode begins, some patients may experience a tingling or numbing sensation or a somewhat constant and aching pain. The attacks often worsen over time, with fewer and shorter pain-free periods before they recur. The intense flashes of pain can be triggered by vibration or contact with the cheek (such as when shaving, washing the face, or applying makeup), brushing teeth, eating, drinking, talking, or being exposed to the wind. TN occurs most often in people over age 50, but it can occur at any age, and is more common in women than in men. There is some evidence that the disorder runs in families, perhaps because of an inherited pattern of blood vessel formation. Although sometimes debilitating, the disorder is not life-threatening. The presumed cause of TN is a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve in the head as it exits the brainstem. TN may be part of the normal aging process but in some cases it is the associated with another disorder, such as multiple sclerosis or other disorders characterized by damage to the myelin sheath that covers certain nerves.

×
Definition

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a chronic pain condition that causes extreme, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like face pain. The pain seldom lasts more than a few seconds or a minute or two per episode. The intensity of pain can be physically and mentally incapacitating. TN pain is typically felt on one side of the jaw or cheek. Episodes can last for days, weeks, or months at a time and then disappear for months or years. In the days before an episode begins, some patients may experience a tingling or numbing sensation or a somewhat constant and aching pain. The attacks often worsen over time, with fewer and shorter pain-free periods before they recur. The intense flashes of pain can be triggered by vibration or contact with the cheek (such as when shaving, washing the face, or applying makeup), brushing teeth, eating, drinking, talking, or being exposed to the wind. TN occurs most often in people over age 50, but it can occur at any age, and is more common in women than in men. There is some evidence that the disorder runs in families, perhaps because of an inherited pattern of blood vessel formation. Although sometimes debilitating, the disorder is not life-threatening. The presumed cause of TN is a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve in the head as it exits the brainstem. TN may be part of the normal aging process but in some cases it is the associated with another disorder, such as multiple sclerosis or other disorders characterized by damage to the myelin sheath that covers certain nerves.

Treatment
Treatment

Because there are a large number of conditions that can cause facial pain, TN can be difficult to diagnose. But finding the cause of the pain is important as the treatments for different types of pain may differ. Treatment options include medicines such as anticonvulsants and tricyclic antidepressants, surgery, and complementary approaches. Typical analgesics and opioids are not usually helpful in treating the sharp, recurring pain caused by TN. If medication fails to relieve pain or produces intolerable side effects such as excess fatigue, surgical treatment may be recommended. Several neurosurgical procedures are available. Some are done on an outpatient basis, while others are more complex and require hospitalization. Some patients choose to manage TN using complementary techniques, usually in combination with drug treatment. These techniques include acupuncture, biofeedback, vitamin therapy, nutritional therapy, and electrical stimulation of the nerves.

×
Treatment

Because there are a large number of conditions that can cause facial pain, TN can be difficult to diagnose. But finding the cause of the pain is important as the treatments for different types of pain may differ. Treatment options include medicines such as anticonvulsants and tricyclic antidepressants, surgery, and complementary approaches. Typical analgesics and opioids are not usually helpful in treating the sharp, recurring pain caused by TN. If medication fails to relieve pain or produces intolerable side effects such as excess fatigue, surgical treatment may be recommended. Several neurosurgical procedures are available. Some are done on an outpatient basis, while others are more complex and require hospitalization. Some patients choose to manage TN using complementary techniques, usually in combination with drug treatment. These techniques include acupuncture, biofeedback, vitamin therapy, nutritional therapy, and electrical stimulation of the nerves.

Definition
Definition

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a chronic pain condition that causes extreme, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like face pain. The pain seldom lasts more than a few seconds or a minute or two per episode. The intensity of pain can be physically and mentally incapacitating. TN pain is typically felt on one side of the jaw or cheek. Episodes can last for days, weeks, or months at a time and then disappear for months or years. In the days before an episode begins, some patients may experience a tingling or numbing sensation or a somewhat constant and aching pain. The attacks often worsen over time, with fewer and shorter pain-free periods before they recur. The intense flashes of pain can be triggered by vibration or contact with the cheek (such as when shaving, washing the face, or applying makeup), brushing teeth, eating, drinking, talking, or being exposed to the wind. TN occurs most often in people over age 50, but it can occur at any age, and is more common in women than in men. There is some evidence that the disorder runs in families, perhaps because of an inherited pattern of blood vessel formation. Although sometimes debilitating, the disorder is not life-threatening. The presumed cause of TN is a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve in the head as it exits the brainstem. TN may be part of the normal aging process but in some cases it is the associated with another disorder, such as multiple sclerosis or other disorders characterized by damage to the myelin sheath that covers certain nerves.

Treatment
Treatment

Because there are a large number of conditions that can cause facial pain, TN can be difficult to diagnose. But finding the cause of the pain is important as the treatments for different types of pain may differ. Treatment options include medicines such as anticonvulsants and tricyclic antidepressants, surgery, and complementary approaches. Typical analgesics and opioids are not usually helpful in treating the sharp, recurring pain caused by TN. If medication fails to relieve pain or produces intolerable side effects such as excess fatigue, surgical treatment may be recommended. Several neurosurgical procedures are available. Some are done on an outpatient basis, while others are more complex and require hospitalization. Some patients choose to manage TN using complementary techniques, usually in combination with drug treatment. These techniques include acupuncture, biofeedback, vitamin therapy, nutritional therapy, and electrical stimulation of the nerves.

Prognosis
Prognosis

The disorder is characterized by recurrences and remissions, and successive recurrences may incapacitate the patient. Due to the intensity of the pain, even the fear of an impending attack may prevent activity. Trigeminal neuralgia is not fatal.

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The disorder is characterized by recurrences and remissions, and successive recurrences may incapacitate the patient. Due to the intensity of the pain, even the fear of an impending attack may prevent activity. Trigeminal neuralgia is not fatal.

Prognosis
Prognosis

The disorder is characterized by recurrences and remissions, and successive recurrences may incapacitate the patient. Due to the intensity of the pain, even the fear of an impending attack may prevent activity. Trigeminal neuralgia is not fatal.

Definition

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a chronic pain condition that causes extreme, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like face pain. The pain seldom lasts more than a few seconds or a minute or two per episode. The intensity of pain can be physically and mentally incapacitating. TN pain is typically felt on one side of the jaw or cheek. Episodes can last for days, weeks, or months at a time and then disappear for months or years. In the days before an episode begins, some patients may experience a tingling or numbing sensation or a somewhat constant and aching pain. The attacks often worsen over time, with fewer and shorter pain-free periods before they recur. The intense flashes of pain can be triggered by vibration or contact with the cheek (such as when shaving, washing the face, or applying makeup), brushing teeth, eating, drinking, talking, or being exposed to the wind. TN occurs most often in people over age 50, but it can occur at any age, and is more common in women than in men. There is some evidence that the disorder runs in families, perhaps because of an inherited pattern of blood vessel formation. Although sometimes debilitating, the disorder is not life-threatening. The presumed cause of TN is a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve in the head as it exits the brainstem. TN may be part of the normal aging process but in some cases it is the associated with another disorder, such as multiple sclerosis or other disorders characterized by damage to the myelin sheath that covers certain nerves.

Treatment

Because there are a large number of conditions that can cause facial pain, TN can be difficult to diagnose. But finding the cause of the pain is important as the treatments for different types of pain may differ. Treatment options include medicines such as anticonvulsants and tricyclic antidepressants, surgery, and complementary approaches. Typical analgesics and opioids are not usually helpful in treating the sharp, recurring pain caused by TN. If medication fails to relieve pain or produces intolerable side effects such as excess fatigue, surgical treatment may be recommended. Several neurosurgical procedures are available. Some are done on an outpatient basis, while others are more complex and require hospitalization. Some patients choose to manage TN using complementary techniques, usually in combination with drug treatment. These techniques include acupuncture, biofeedback, vitamin therapy, nutritional therapy, and electrical stimulation of the nerves.

Prognosis

The disorder is characterized by recurrences and remissions, and successive recurrences may incapacitate the patient. Due to the intensity of the pain, even the fear of an impending attack may prevent activity. Trigeminal neuralgia is not fatal.

What research is being done?

Within the NINDS research programs, trigeminal neuralgia is addressed primarily through studies associated with pain research. NINDS vigorously pursues a research program seeking new treatments for pain and nerve damage with the ultimate goal of reversing debilitating conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia. NINDS has notified research investigators that it is seeking grant applications both in basic and clinical pain research.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Trigeminal Neuralgia

Patient Organizations
International RadioSurgery Association
2960 Green Street
P.O. Box 5186
Harrisburg
PA
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Tel: 717-260-9808
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Room 5B-55
Bethesda
MD
Bethesda, MD 20892
Tel: 301-496-4261
TNA -- Facial Pain Association (formerly the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association)
408 W. University Avenue
Suite 602
Gainesville
FL
Gainesville, FL 32601
Tel: 352-384-3600; 800-923-3608
Publications

Chronic pain information page compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Information about headaches, including migraines, compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Chronic pain information page compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)