Trigeminal Neuralgia (Face Pain)

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.

Care That’s Focused on You

  • We operate Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center — the area’s only center dedicated to helping you and your family navigate your lives. The Norton Healthcare Foundation funds this important service, so patients don’t need to pay.
  • We have dedicated patient navigators who can help with transportation, schedule follow-up appointments and confirm that you can afford prescriptions.
  • We provide support groups and exercise classes, develop customized diet plans and can help with issues such as access to disability assistance, housing, and financial and employment advice.
  • At Norton Neuroscience Institute, we want to help you get better and well as prevent you from getting sick in the first place. Get help quitting smoking and learn the signs of stroke at Norton Healthcare Prevention & Wellness.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free MyNortonChart account.

Louisville’s Leader in Neurological Care

More patients from Louisville and Southern Indiana seek treatment from Norton Neuroscience Institute’s nationally recognized neurologists and neurosurgeons than any other provider in the area.

  • We have more than 60 medical, surgical and research specialists dedicated to providing innovative care to those with brain, spine and nervous system conditions.
  • We use advanced minimally invasive neurosurgery equipment that speeds your recovery and minimizes pain.
  • Our multidisciplinary clinics offer easy access to specialists in oncology, cardiovascular, orthopedics,  and behavioral health.
  • Norton Healthcare has the largest network of accredited stroke centers in the area.
    • Norton Brownsboro Hospital’s designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and American Stroke Association represents the highest level of care.
    • The Joint Commission also certified Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Hospital as Primary Stroke Centers and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center navigators help educate patients and their families about new diagnoses, available treatments and managing their disease.
  • We are nationally recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as a Top 100 neurosurgery and spine program.
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