ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Updated on April 20, 2015

A Pain to be Reckoned With

Often considered one of the worst types of pain one can have, trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that is characterized by bouts of intense pain in the face. The pain is felt in and around the jaw area of the face and can be triggered by any movement of the mouth or even something as minor as a slight breeze. The pain can range from milder bouts that last only a couple of seconds to extremely excruciating pain that can last up to two minutes. Trigeminal neuralgia affects women more than men and usually does not occur until after the age of 50. This page will explore the condition further, from symptoms to treatment, so stay here for further information.

Photo Credit: permission to use from

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia vary from person to person. One individual may experience occasional twinges of minor pain whereas another person may have episodes of very severe, shooting pain that feel somewhat like a electrical shocks. The spontaneous attacks of pain can be triggered by the slightest of movements of the mouth or the gentlest touch to the face. The pain is felt only on one side of the face near the trigeminal nerve. This includes areas such as the cheek, jaw, gums, lips, and sometimes even the forehead or eye. Each episode of pain can last from one quick second to an agonizing two full minutes. These spontaneous bouts of pain may go away for months or even years, only to show up even worse later on. It is recommended that you see a doctor if regular over-the-counter pain relievers are not working for you.

Helpful Books for More Thorough Information

Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Click on picture for credit info (creative commons) and to read about the trigeminal nerve
Click on picture for credit info (creative commons) and to read about the trigeminal nerve

Trigeminal neuralgia happens when the trigeminal nerve's function gets disrupted. Usually this occurs when a blood vessel begins to press onto the nerve at the base of the brain, putting pressure on the nerve and causing it to malfunction and fire off pain signals. The condition can also be caused because the blood vessel can eventually wear away at the insulating membrane surrounding the nerve, also causing it to malfunction and send out pain signals to the brain. Trigeminal neuralgia be the result of aging or it can be related to multiple sclerosis or other disorders that damage the membrane that protects certain nerves.

Trigeminal Neuralgia... - ...explained very thoroughly

This video is somewhat lengthy but warrants watching for a more in-depth look at trigeminal neuralgia.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Photo Credit: National Cancer Institute, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: National Cancer Institute, via Wikimedia Commons

As previously mentioned, you should see your doctor as soon as possible if the pain you are experiencing is not being alleviated with over-the-counter pain medications. Unfortunately, there are really no tests that detect the condition with 100 percent certainty. However, an MRI will usually show what is irritating the trigeminal nerve, so this procedure is usually prescribed by doctors if trigeminal neuralgia is suspected.

Treatment options that are considered include medication, surgery, and injections. The type of treatment you undergo once you have been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia will largely depend on how severe your pain is, how debilitating the pain is, your age and a number of other factors. Medicines that are used to treat the condition include ones that are often used to control and alleviate chronic pain, such as anti-depressant medication or anti-seizure medication.

Helpful Books About Managing Chronic Pain

Thank You for Visiting - Please feel free to leave a comment.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I had an aunt with trigeminal neuralgia. You could tell by her expression how much pain she was in when the pain struck.

    • merfzel profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      @amyboosimpson: It must be difficult to deal with... glad you feel better though! Thanks for visiting!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I have this condition, It is awful.... though now iv got my treatment sorted its a lot better. A well rounded article.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very interesting. I'd never heard of this condition before.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)