Trigeminal neuralgia - A Personal Story
What is Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a highly painful condition, seen on the face. It is caused due to the disorder of trigeminal nerves. The patient suffers with excruciating pain at any moment, even with the slightest activity on the face, such as brushing, chewing the food, or even while talking. Sometimes it may start as mild and disappear after few seconds or minutes. But often it causes severe pain, which not only to the patient, even to the person seeing it is difficult to witness it.
Trigeminal nerve is the one which carries sensation from face to brain. This painful condition commonly involves the middle branch of the trigeminal nerve, and the pain may be felt in the ear, eye, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, cheeks, teeth, or jaw and side of the face.
Trigeminal neuralgia - initial stage
Initially it may start as a mild pain, which gradually may increase. This neuropathic condition affects at any age, but mostly patients older than 50 years, and it is reported that women are affected more than men.Female to male ratio about 3:2. In the early years the duration of the main may last just for seconds, which gradually increases into minutes and hours or even days over the years.
The pain is intense, stabbing and electric-shock type and is described as the most excruciating pain known to mankind.
A Personal experience
I have seen my brother suffering from the excruciating pain of Trigeminal neuralgia, for fourteen years. When this disorder commenced he was staying in Ooty, a popular hill station in India.
It all started as a mild flashing pain on his forehead for a few seconds, and disappeared as it had come. Initially, he thought that it would disappear soon, and didn't give much attention to it,
. He attributed his problem to the cold weather there. Then he moved to a tropical climate area, with his family. He felt better for a few days, but that happiness lasted only for a short duration.
After a break of two months, his problem began to pop up even in the tropical climate. He consulted different physicians and they all told him he was suffering from Trigeminal neuralgia, and prescribed him anti-convulsant medicine called Mazatone (belonging to tregretol group). This resulted in having allergy all over his body. As the days passed, he found it very difficult to cope with his daily life and began to lose his confidence to eat his food or go out of the house, fearing that any moment his problem might trigger.It was not only the patient, even his wife and son were badly affected seeing him suffer.
In the meanwhile, following the advices of his friends and relatives, he tried alternative medicines such as ayurveda, homeopathy, accupressure, accupuncture, magnetic therapy etc but nothing could give him a proper relief, and it was extremely difficult for the family to see his agony. He was unable to speak, shaving his face, brush his teeth, and not even chew his food. Any slightest activity on his face would trigger his pain. He lived on liquid food for quite some time. .
After 13 years of suffering, both his eyes were also affected and were unable to open the eyes. That time he used to press his left temple for a long time with a towel soaked in boiled water. During those days, he used to walk in the house, depressed, both his eyes closed. His left temple was completely burnt out.
He wanted to undergo the surgery, but the doctors didn't give him any guarantee that it will not recur later. Besides, the family was afraid to take the risk of surgery on him. Finally, he was prepared to take the risk and underwent the surgery at KG Hospital, Coimbatore under the safe hands of Dr. Natarajan, their eminent neurosurgeon. It was four years ago. Fortunately, his 14 years agony came to an end after the operation, and now he is a very happy person, and thanks God for making him free from the worst days of his life.