Diagnosis of Trigeminal Neuralgia

A diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia can be a difficult one to make as the pain could be indicative of many conditions. The diagnosis will depend on the description of your pain including:

  • Type of Pain: Sudden, periodic
  • Location of the Pain: This will provide an indication of whether the trigeminal nerve is involved or not
  • Triggers: The various triggers, including smiling, chewing or talking could provide an indication
  • Test results

Tests used to aid in the diagnosis include:

  • Neurological Examination: By touching different parts of your face, a neurologist can determine the exact location of the pain and which parts of the trigeminal nerve may be affected.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This is an imaging technique involving magnetic fields that provide a detailed internal image of the affected areas. An MRI scan can detect underlying causes like multiple sclerosis and tumors.
  • Other Tests: Facial pain can be caused by many different conditions. To aid in the diagnosis, your neurologist may order other tests to rule out other conditions that may be causing the pain.

Frequently asked questions
  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001751/
  2. James K Liu, Ronald I Apfelbaum, Treatment of trigeminal neuralgia, Neurosurgery Clinics of North America, Volume 15, Issue 3, July 2004, Pages 319-334, ISSN 1042-3680, 10.1016/j.nec.2004.03.002.