Trigeminal Neuralgia - What Should You Know?
DM - Neurology, MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine
15 years experience
Trigeminal Neuralgia is basically a nervous disorder that can affect any person. The condition is caused mainly due to the trigeminal nerve or the 5th cranial nerve being pressed against by a blood vessel. Cases have been reported without such specific underlying causes as well. The condition can cause light to severe pain and is treated through a combination of medication and other external stimulations.
Things you need to know about Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Trigeminal Neuralgia is a condition in which the affected person will feel pain on one side of the face, especially on the cheeks and the mouth.
- 'Tic douloureax’ is the other name by which the disorder is otherwise known.
- Depending on the intensity of the pain, the condition is categorised as Type 1 or Type 2; type 1 Trigeminal Neuralgia being the one causing severe stabbing pain.
- In rare cases, persons can experience both types at the same place at the same time.
- The cause of Trigeminal Neuralgia, relates to the 5th Cranial nerve, which controls the facial sensation and chewing, being affected. Since this nerve is called the trigeminal nerve the disorder is named Trigeminal Neuralgia.
- In a majority of cases, it has been detected that some blood vessel running along the nerve is pressing against the nerve, resulting in its inflammation and the pain being transmitted to the face.
- Some experts believe the condition can be brought about without any known cause as well.
- Radio-frequency ablation and microvascular decompression of nerve are very popular treatment methods followed by several practitioners.
- There are many ways of treating Trigeminal Neuralgia; internal medicine is, of course, the immediate remedy
- Anticonvulsant drugs are the main line of medication prescribed primarily due to their ability to suppress nerve pain.
- Certain antidepressants can also be prescribed in combination and some of the latest drugs which have been found to be very effective in treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia are also recommended.
- The doctors will, however, be closely monitoring the reactions and side effects before they persist with medication on these lines
- Some of the external type of treatments for Trigeminal Neuralgia include the electrical stimulation using devices like TENS units.
- These devices are freely available in the market and people can use them at their homes following the directions of use given by the manufacturers and also demo videos available online.
- TENS is actually an acronym for “Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation” and the devices consist of electrodes through which electric pulses are sent from a small transmitter like instrument. There are pads attached to the end of the electrodes that can be patched onto the skin and there is a range of settings to regulate the intensity of the pulses.
- This electric stimulation process offers instant relief and when continuously applied for a few days, the pain may fully go away.
Nerve pains can become unbearable sometimes and have to be treated immediately. The best way is to first take a combination of drugs to control the pain and then use electric stimulation and other methods of external applications to remove the pain.
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