What is Trigeminal Neuralgia - Raleigh Facial Pain

What is Trigeminal Neuralgia & How Can It Be Misdiagnosed?

May 6th, 2015

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is one of the most common causes of facial pain. Also called tic douloureux, it is a condition that is characterized by intermittent, shooting pain in the face. Trigeminal neuralgia affects the trigeminal nerve, which sends impulses of touch, pain, pressure, and temperature to the brain from the face, jaw, gums, forehead, and around the eyes.

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 facial pain can come and go and last for days, weeks or even months. An MRI can determine the presence of TN whereas other tests can rule out other facial pain disorders.

When a TN Misdiagnosis Can Occur

Trigeminal Neuralgia is concerning because of the severe pain it causes, which can lead to both patients and dentists agreeing to invasive treatments to relieve the pain that may not be needed. At Raleigh Facial Pain Center, we understand that misdiagnosing chronic pain can be a patient’s worst nightmare, so we want you to be aware of some of the common possibilities for the misdiagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia.

How Is Trigeminal Neuralgia Treated?

Trigeminal neuralgia is diagnosed with a detailed head and neck exam by a orofacial pain specialist that will determine that the source of the pain is coming from the trigeminal nerve. Treatment for TN usually starts with medications and eventually leads to more serious interventions.

Facial Pain

Medications – In order to treat trigeminal neuralgia, your doctor may prescribe the following medications to reduce pain signals transmitted to the brain:

Surgical Intervention – If medication is ineffective in treating pain or produces intolerable side effects, surgical intervention may be necessary. Individuals suffering from TN often seek surgical treatment and explore the following options:

Alternative Treatments – Acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic adjustment, electrical nerve stimulation, meditation, nutritional therapy, vitamin therapy and yoga are some alternative treatments for TN that some patients may pursue.

Raleigh Facial Pain Center Can Help

Don’t delay dealing with your chronic pain. Board certified and residency trained Dr. Keith A. Yount and the caring, experienced team at Raleigh Facial Pain want to help you get answers as quickly as possible. Give us a call at (919) 781-6600 or contact us online to get started today.