Trigeminal neuralgia (also known as Tic douloureux) is a condition of excruciating facial pain. Often the pain can be triggered by activities such as touching your mouth, talking, eating, brushing your teeth, shaving, a cold wind or even a light breeze. These pains often last only moments, but the pain is so severe as to be incapacitating. It is caused by vascular compression of the fifth cranial (trigeminal) nerve. It may involve one, two or (rarely) three branches of the nerve. It rarely occurs on both sides of the face.
If medication is not effective or side effects of the medications are unacceptable, surgical treatment may be considered. The surgical approaches include blocking the appropriate nerve or microvascular decompression, in which sponge-like material is placed between the trigeminal nerve and adjacent blood vessels to alleviate pressure from blood flow.
For more information, visit www.tna-support.org.