Norton Neuroscience Institute is a leading provider of neurological care in Louisville and Southern Indiana, with specialists providing advanced care for trigeminal neuralgia, or face pain. The condition, also known as tic douloureux, is typically limited to one side of the face.
Some experts describe trigeminal neuralgia as one of the most painful conditions known to humanity.
The condition causes extreme facial pain that can be a sporadic burning or shock-like pain along the branches of the trigeminal nerve: It’s felt in the lips, eyes, nose, scalp, forehead, upper and lower jaw. The pain tends to be brief, lasting no more than a couple minutes. The bouts of pain can come and go for hours.
Another form of trigeminal neuralgia is face pain characterized by a constant burning or ache.
Trigeminal neuralgia is most common in adults over 50 and tends to affect women more often than men.
The board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists of Norton Neuroscience Institute are experienced in diagnosing and treating trigeminal neuralgia. They have the training to provide a precise diagnosis and develop a customized treatment plan to get you relief.
Multidisciplinary Care for Face Pain
Trigeminal neuralgia treatment with Norton Healthcare means you have access to a team of specialists including neurologists, neurosurgeons and radiation oncology physicians to treat your face pain.
By collecting viewpoints from many disciplines, your physician will have a complete view of the options available for your treatment.
A typical source of the face pain is a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve, which extends from the brain stem to provide feeling and movement to the face. The pulsating blood vessel pressing on the nerve can confuse the transmission of pain signals to the brain.
A number of conditions can cause face pain. Experienced specialists at Norton Neuroscience Institute have the training to arrive at a correct diagnosis. Finding the cause of the pain is crucial to developing a successful treatment plan.
If you suspect trigeminal neuralgia, keep a record of your symptoms — what the pain feels like, where it’s located, how frequently it comes and goes and how long it lasts. Also, keep track of any triggers such as brushing teeth, touching the face, cold air, applying makeup, etc.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment
Common analgesics typically are not effective in treating the pain. Anticonvulsive drugs and other medications that block the nerve have shown greater success.
But the condition tends to worsen over time, and eventually, medication becomes less effective. Surgery can relieve the pain once medications are no longer helpful, but it doesn’t work for everyone.
The typical surgery for trigeminal neuralgia is microvascular decompression. An incision is made behind the ear, and a felt pad is placed between the blood vessel and nerve. Other options include damaging the nerve with a balloon, electrode or radiation to dull the sensation of pain.
Even after surgery, it may take months to be symptom-free.