What is Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia or tic douloureux is a chronic and extremely painful condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries nerve impulses between the face and the brain. The condition causes extreme, episodic bouts of searing pain or a burning sensation that can be crippling in intensity. Episodes can last for periods ranging up to a few months and then disappear for months or even years. Some patients experience a tingling sensation on one side of the cheek or a dull ache prior to the start of an attack. Initially, the attacks may be short and mild, but the condition can progress, resulting in longer and more frequent bouts of pain.
Trigeminal neuralgia usually affects those over the age of 50 and affects women more often than men. It is presumed to be caused by pressure exerted on the trigeminal nerve by a blood vessel. In some cases it is also associated with other diseases like multiple sclerosis.