Trigeminal neuralgia leads to facial pain

The trigeminal nerve is a very important nerve that carries signals from your face to your brain. It lets you feel any sensations in your face.

Sometimes the trigeminal nerve can become damaged due to a stroke, aging, multiple sclerosis or other brain conditions. Brain tumors or blood vessels in your brain can also put pressure on the nerve. If you have trigeminal neuralgia, you may feel terrible pain in your face while doing simple, everyday activities, such as touching your face or brushing your teeth.

Trigeminal neuralgia pain may only affect one part or your entire face. You may experience short, infrequent pain attacks at first; however, over time you might feel pain more often and for longer periods of time. You should talk to your doctor about facial pain, especially if it happens more than once or for a long period of time.

Advanced options for trigeminal neuralgia pain relief

Many pain management treatments can help relieve trigeminal neuralgia pain. Medicines, called anticonvulsants, help reduce how often your nerve sends signals so that you feel less pain. Muscle relaxants can also reduce your pain. Many people only need to take medicine and don’t need any other treatments for trigeminal neuralgia.

In some situations, surgery can be used to reduce pressure on the trigeminal nerve. During microvascular depression surgery, your doctor can remove blood vessels that are touching your nerve or put padding between the nerve and the blood vessels.

Stereotactic radiosurgery, a special type of radiation therapy that uses precisely aimed, high-powered X-rays, is also used in some cases. With stereotactic radiosurgery, doctors can target the base of your trigeminal nerve, damaging it in a specific way to reduce pain signals. Over time, the signals get weaker and weaker, relieving your pain.

Your doctor may use other techniques to strategically damage the trigeminal nerve. Your doctor can use special injections, heat or a tiny balloon to precisely target the source of your pain and get rid of it. Talk to your doctor about which treatment is best for you.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.