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 at the Norton Neuroscience Institute Face Pain Clinic means you have access to a team of specialists including neurologists, neurosurgeons and radiation oncology physicians to treat your face pain.

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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

It’s part of Norton Neuroscience Institute’s goal to care for the whole person, not just the condition.

  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers offer ways to improve your access to care, provide valuable information on managing your disease and address your quality of life issues. The Norton Healthcare Foundation funds this important service, so patients don’t need to pay.
  • Dedicated patient navigators can help schedule follow-up appointments, coordinate prescription assistance, create customized diet plans and provide guidance on disability benefits, housing, financial and employment concerns and more.
  • Patients can access support groups, exercise classes and other educational events to connect with others and learn how to make the most of life while managing a neurological condition. 
  • Access an on-demand video library of educational content across a variety of condition-related topics is available.
  • We want to help prevent illness. Get help quitting smoking and learn the signs of stroke.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free Norton MyChart account.

A Louisville Leader in Neurological Care

More patients from Louisville and Southern Indiana seek their neurology and neurosurgery care from Norton Neuroscience Institute’s nationally recognized specialists than any other providers in the area.

Your Norton Neuroscience Institute medical provider has the expertise, experience, diagnostic tools and sophisticated treatments to provide care tailored to your needs.

  • More than 75 medical, surgical and research specialists are dedicated to providing innovative care to those with brain, spine and nervous system conditions.
  • Advanced, minimally invasive neurosurgery equipment can speed your recovery and minimize pain.
  • Multidisciplinary clinics provide easy access to care in one convenient appointment for your neurological condition, with specialists in oncology, cardiology, orthopedics and behavioral health.
  • Norton Healthcare’s four adult-service hospitals in Louisville are certified by DNV, recognizing excellence and expertise in stroke care.
    • Norton Brownsboro Hospital is recognized as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
    • Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Hospital are Primary Stroke Centers.
    • Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital is an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute is at the forefront of neuroscientific research. As investigators on numerous trials, our physicians contribute to groundbreaking studies and publications in peer-reviewed journals. Also, patients may be eligible to take part in these experimental treatments.
    Learn more about current neuroscience clinical trials and studies.
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  • The American Heart Association Get With the Guidelines stroke care program has recognized all four of Norton Healthcare’s adult service-hospitals in Louisville for exceeding national averages in getting patients in the door and administering lifesaving treatment to restore blood flow to the brain.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute’s multiple sclerosis (MS) program has been designated a Center for Comprehensive MS Care by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  • The National Association of Epilepsy Centers has recognized Norton Neuroscience Institute as a Level 4 Epilepsy Center, providing the highest level of medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center navigators help educate patients and their families about new diagnoses, available treatments and ways to manage their disease.
  • We are listed by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of 100 great neurosurgery and spine programs.

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