What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Ever have facial pain that hits out of the blue, causing short bursts of agony in the upper or lower jaw, cheek or forehead area? While numerous factors such as stress or dental problems can cause pain in these parts of the head, one often overlooked cause is trigeminal neuralgia.

The trigeminal nerve is the fifth cranial nerve that supplies the sensation to the face. Trigeminal neuralgia occurs when there can be compression of the nerve as it’s coming of the brain most commonly by an artery or tumor but sometimes the etiology is unknown. This can cause severe episodic stabbing, electrical sensation in the face that could be triggered by minor things such as chewing.

Trigeminal neuralgia is caused by irritation of the trigeminal nerve. This nerve branches across the surface of the head and carries feelings from the forehead, middle face, mouth and jaw back to the brain.

Trigeminal neuralgia is more common in women, people 50 years of age or older and those who have multiple sclerosis (MS). In people with MS, trigeminal neuralgia can develop due to the degrading of the protective myelin coating of the trigeminal nerve. Other causes include trauma due to accident or surgery, pressure on the nerve caused by a blood vessel or, more rarely, a tumor.

    What Causes Trigeminal Neuralgia?

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