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5 Things to Know for Treating Trigeminal Neuralgia

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Are you suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia or know someone who is? Below are the 5 things you should know for treating such a condition.

1. What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain affecting the trigeminal nerve. This nerve surrounds the facial parts and carries nerve impulses of touch and pain to the brain from the mouth, nose, and ears. It is classified as a neuropathic disorder as it involves nerve injury.


Type 1 or classic type


Type 1 causes immense, infrequent, unforeseen blazing or blow-like facial pain lasting from a few seconds to two minutes. These episodes can happen in a fast sequence and are described as very painful.


Type 2 or atypical type


The “atypical” kind known as Type 2 is identified by a persistent stinging, burning, jabbing soreness of relatively lesser intensity than Type 1. Both classes of pain might take place in the same patient, sometimes simultaneously. 

2. Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia is linked with a diversified condition. It might be caused due to a vessel i.e. an artery or vein squashing or pressing on the trigeminal nerve while it comes out of the brain. This compression prompts the ragging or damage to the protecting myelin sheath around the nerve.


Trigeminal Neuralgia symptoms also arise in people having multiple sclerosis, a disease characterized by deterioration of the myelin sheath surrounding trigeminal nerve. In very few cases, symptoms belonging to Trigeminal Neuralgia might occur due to nerve compression by a tumor, a knot of arteries or veins or both known as an arteriovenous malformation. Stroke or damage to the trigeminal nerve can also cause neuropathic pain.

3. Symptoms

Pain changes, based on the type, or may vary from sudden, acute, and jabbing to a much unceasing, searing sensation. The vigorous flashes of pain are triggered via wind or contact with sensitive parts of the face.


Progressive attacks of short periods occur with ascending intensity. It limits the day-to-day activities of the affected person to a great extent.

4. Diagnosis

It is based mainly on the patient’s history or account of symptoms, combining the physical examination. Moreover, MRI and response to the ant-seizure course also help to detect the disorder.

5. Treatment

Medications


Anticonvulsant medicines, for blocking nerve firing, are usually effective while treating Trigeminal Neuralgia type 1 but are generally less effective in the case of Trigeminal Neuralgia type 2. Medications that may be prescribed include valproic acid, carbamazepine, gabapentin, and oxcarbazepine.


Surgery


Various neurosurgical surgeries are administered to treat Trigeminal Neuralgia, based on the intensity and the type of pain, the individual’s choice, overall health, blood pressure, history of previous surgeries and the position of the affected nerve.

Balloon compression and stereotactic radiosurgery are also used.


Complementary approaches


Some people treat trigeminal neuralgia by using special techniques, generally in combination with drug treatment. These therapies (which include low-impact yoga, aroma therapy, etc.) give various degrees of positive results.