As many as 150,000 people in the United States receive a trigeminal neuralgia diagnosis every year. At Oklahoma Spine & Brain Institute in Tulsa, Bartlesville, Sallisaw, Miami, and Claremore, Oklahoma, the neurosurgeons offer comprehensive care to treat intense pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia. If you experience widespread facial pain when you brush your teeth or touch your face, don’t delay a diagnostic evaluation. You can call the Oklahoma Spine & Brain Institute office nearest you to request an appointment.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, the nerve that provides sensations to your face.
When something disrupts the function of your trigeminal nerve, it results in a hypersensitivity to touch. Even slight stimulation of your face, such as wiping away a tear or applying lotion, can result in excruciating, electric shock-like pain.
The common cause of trigeminal neuralgia is contact between a blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve at the base of your brain. The vessel puts pressure on the nerve that triggers your symptoms.
Aging can increase your risk for trigeminal neuralgia. You may also be at higher risk for the condition if you have a disorder like multiple sclerosis that damages the protective sheath around your nerves.
Trigeminal neuralgia can cause a severe, shooting, or shock-like pain when you touch your face. These pain episodes can last for several days to several months, and in-between, you may not experience any pain at all.
Pain often affects all areas of your face, including your:
Pain often develops on only one side of your face at a time and can start in one spot before spreading to other areas.
Without treatment, trigeminal neuralgia pain can worsen over time and become more persistent and intense.
During an evaluation for trigeminal neuralgia, your Oklahoma Spine & Brain Institute provider reviews your medical history and performs a physical exam.
A neurological exam is helpful in confirming trigeminal neuralgia. Your provider examines the areas of your face where you feel pain. They may also request magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your head to rule out tumors or other abnormalities that may be pressing on your trigeminal nerve.
Initial treatment for trigeminal neuralgia usually involves medications, like anticonvulsants and muscle relaxers. While medicine may effectively treat your pain, over time, they can become less effective.
The team at Oklahoma Spine & Brain Institute offers surgical options for treating trigeminal neuralgia. A common surgery is microvascular decompression, a procedure to relocate blood vessels that put pressure on your trigeminal nerve.
To learn more about options for treating trigeminal neuralgia pain, contact the neurosurgeons at Oklahoma Spine & Brain Institute by calling the office nearest you.