Trigeminal neuralgia is a nerve disorder that causes a stabbing or electric-shock-like pain in parts of the face.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from your face to your brain. If you have trigeminal neuralgia, even mild stimulation of your face — such as from brushing your teeth or putting on makeup — may trigger a jolt of excruciating pain.
The trigeminal nerve is a paired cranial nerve that has three major branches: the ophthalmic nerve (V1), the maxillary nerve (V2), and the mandibular nerve (V3). One, two, or all three branches of the nerve may be affected. 10-12% of cases are bilateral (occurring on both the left and right sides of the face). Trigeminal neuralgia most commonly involves the middle branch (the maxillary nerve or V2) and lower branch (mandibular nerve or V3) of the trigeminal nerve, but the pain may be felt in the ear, eye, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, cheeks, teeth, or jaw and side of the face.
Some common causes of facial pain include:
- Abscessed tooth (a condition in which a tooth is surrounded by inflammation and pus)
- Sinus infection
- Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses)
- Injury to the face
- TMJ disorders (TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, or the jaw joint)
- Trigeminal neuralgia (described below)
What Are the Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia causes a sudden, severe, electric shock-like, or stabbing pain that lasts several seconds. The pain can be felt on the face and around the lips, eyes, nose, scalp, and forehead. Symptoms can be brought on when a person is brushing the teeth, putting on makeup, touching the face, swallowing, or even feeling a slight breeze.
Trigeminal neuralgia is often considered one of the most painful conditions seen in medicine. Usually, the pain is felt on one side of the jaw or cheek, but some people experience pain at different times on both sides. The attacks of pain may be repeated one after the other. They may come and go throughout the day and last for days, weeks, or months at a time. At times, the attacks can disappear for months or years. The disorder is more common in women than in men and rarely affects anyone younger than 50.
Symptoms of TN can be cured by correcting the misalignments of the spine caused by trauma, and removing compression of the brain stem and surrounding nerves. After nerve irritation has been removed, proper communication is restored between the brain and spinal cord, and the surrounding nerves. Chiropractic can be helpful by releasing the pressure of the artery or vein pressing on the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain. When a misalignment is found, very specific, gentle adjustments are made to correct the misaligned vertebrae in the neck.
Call (212) 804-6452