Trigeminal neuralgia is very painful swelling (inflammation) of the trigeminal nerve which delivers feeling to the face and "surface" of the eye.
Trigeminal neuralgia causes severe, short-lasting (only a few seconds) facial pain on the side of the affected nerve. The condition usually affects older adults. Often, no cause can be found. However, areas of brain swelling or abnormal blood vessels (arteriovenous malformations) can cause it. Painful trigeminal neuralgia attacks may occur after lightly touching areas of the face that are along the fifth skull (cranial) nerve.
- Very painful, sharp electric-like spasms that last a few seconds or minutes
- Pain usually only on one side of the face, often around the eye, cheek, and lower part of the face
- Pain that may be triggered by touch or sounds
- Pain that occurs while:
- Brushing teeth
GHS uses a variety of treatment methods, both medical and surgical, to improve the quality of life for trigeminal neuralgia patients.
Greenville Memorial Hospital, our flagship medical center, was ranked in the top 50 hospitals in the US for neurology/neurosurgery in the 2009 by U.S. News.
Certain medicines can help reduce pain and the rate of attacks. These may include:
- Anti-epilepsy drugs (carbamazepine, gabapentin, phenytoin)
- Migraine medicines (sumatriptan)
- Tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline, nortriptyline, or carbamazepine)
Some patients may need surgery.