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Trigeminal neuralgia - A Personal Story

Updated on November 20, 2013
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Lakshmi Menon is a published author who writes both fiction and non-fiction, including health and travel articles.

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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.


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    • My Bell profile image

      Marcelle Bell 

      3 years ago

      I'm still pain free a year and 3 months after my MVD surgery. I'm working on publishing "my story" in a Hub soon. It is a bit emotional to write but I want to give others stricken with this disease hope and resources. It's my small way to pay forward, which I will continue to do for all my days ahead. Thanks again for publishing this Hub.

    • lex123 profile imageAUTHOR

      lex123 

      3 years ago

      It used to be terrible watching him suffer those days. Yes, he too used to tell these two words about his pain - stabbing and shocking. But, fortunately after the surgery, he is completely free from it now. Hope you too will get complete relief soon.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 years ago from USA

      I feel so badly for your brother, as it sounds miserable. I have personally suffered from this on and off for years, although certainly not as strongly as your brother did. (My doctor says it's related to my multiple sclerosis.) It feels like stabbing, shocking jolts of electricity zapping me through the face, mainly on one side. When the pain is temporarily gone, it leaves my face numb. I am glad your brother found relief.

    • lex123 profile imageAUTHOR

      lex123 

      4 years ago

      Thank you for reading the hub and leaving your valuable comment. I'm so happy you are out of the pain of this and now you too are leading a normal life, after the surgery. Let us pray no one should become the victims of TN.

    • My Bell profile image

      Marcelle Bell 

      4 years ago

      I'm so happy that I read this hub. I have Trigeminal Neuralgia but thankfully had an MVD performed by Dr. Casey last October and now, 6 months later, I am pain free and med free. I lived a miserable 10 months before surgery on intolerable meds. The pain truly is out of this world and unbearable in every way. The medicines do a fairly good job (most of the time) but the side effects are enormous and greatly affected the quality of my life. I am grateful to have had the surgery and pray for other that have been stricken with this cruel disease.

    • lex123 profile imageAUTHOR

      lex123 

      4 years ago

      It is a terrible condition. I pray that no one should suffer from this. Thank God, my brother is free from this now and leading a very happy life and hope that he will continue to do so. Thank you for reading this hub and leaving a comment.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 

      4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you for sharing this informative hub. I have never heard of this condition. I'm so glad your brother was helped by surgery and I hope he continues to do well.

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