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Trigeminal Neuralgia

Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group

Neurological Surgery located in Birmingham, AL

Trigeminal neuralgia causes severe, debilitating facial pain that can leave you in agony for weeks or months at a time. Fortunately, trigeminal neuralgia is treatable so you can regain your quality of life. The team of experienced providers at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group has extensive experience treating the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia. To end agonizing pain and restore your ability to enjoy life, call the office in Birmingham, Alabama.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Q & A

What is trigeminal neuralgia?

The trigeminal nerve is a three-branched nerve that transmits sensation from your face to your brain. When the normal function of this nerve is compromised, it can become irritated, leading to trigeminal neuralgia, also known as tic douloureux. This chronic condition causes excruciating facial pain.

What causes trigeminal neuralgia?

Most of the time, trigeminal neuralgia arises when a healthy artery or vein makes contact with the nerve at the base of the brain, creating pressure that interferes with the normal function of the nerve.

Conditions that may contribute to trigeminal neuralgia include:

  • Aging
  • Surgical injuries
  • Head trauma
  • Tumors
  • Brain lesions
  • Multiple Sclerosis

More women than men experience trigeminal neuralgia, and people over the age of 50 have an increased risk for the condition.

What are the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia?

At first, your symptoms might be mild and short in duration. As the condition worsens, even very light stimulation to the skin of your face can trigger more prolonged attacks of intense, searing, shooting, or shock-like pain. 

Trigeminal neuralgia can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Pain in the cheeks, jaw, lips, gums, teeth, eye area, or forehead
  • Pain that begins in one spot and spreads outwards
  • Spontaneous pain episodes
  • Episodes triggered by facial stimulation (touching, chewing, speaking, etc.)
  • Persistent aching or burning sensations that precede pain episodes

Pain episodes can last a few seconds to several minutes and may become increasingly frequent so that your pain feels constant. You may experience periods of weeks or months without pain, only to have the pain return.

How is trigeminal neuralgia treated?

The experienced physicians at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group typically begin with nonsurgical treatments. Prescription medications, such as anticonvulsants or muscle relaxants, frequently help relieve trigeminal neuralgia pain. 

If medication doesn’t control your symptoms, your doctor may recommend radiosurgery treatments; noninvasive procedures that don’t involve incisions or sutures. Your doctor uses advanced tools like the CyberKnife® or the Gamma Knife® to deliver precisely focused beams of radiation, which destroy the trigeminal nerve so it can no longer transmit pain signals to your brain.

You don’t have to live with the debilitating pain of trigeminal neuralgia. Don’t wait to schedule a consultation with a team member at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group. Call today.