Trigeminal Neuralgia (Tic Doulourex)
Trigeminal neuralgia is a disorder characterized by sharp stabbing pain on one side of the face. It is commonly caused by an artery compressing the trigeminal nerve, which results in the facial pain on one side of the face. The trigeminal nerve is responsible for sending impulses to the brain about touch and pressure from the forehead, jaw, gums and area around the eyes. Since the majority of this nerve is a sensory nerve, as the nerve is “rubbed” it causes the sensation of severe facial pain. It may be very intense when present but there is no dysfunction of the muscles of the face. The pain often lasts for several seconds, and sometimes recurs one after another. Pain is usually triggered by touching the face, brushing the teeth, smiling, eating, or moving the mouth with talking. Trigeminal neuralgia is found more in women than men. A majority of individuals affected are over 50 years of age. Medications are prescribed initially, but if they cannot be taken because of adverse side effects, or they are not effective in controlling the symptoms, surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery are options.