Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve carries sensations from your face to your brain. Its branches extend from the back of your skull across your cheeks and down into your jawline, carrying feelings and impressions back to your brain.


If you suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, even mild stimulation of your face may trigger a lot of excruciating pain. 


With trigeminal neuralgia, you may experience short, mild attacks at first. As the condition worsens, the pain may become more severe and more frequent. 


Trigeminal neuralgia affects women more often than men, and it’s more likely to occur in people who are older than 50. 


There are a variety of treatment options available for trigeminal neuralgia. Just because you are suffering from trigeminal neuralgia doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of pain. Dr. Rodriguez at the Pain Relief Center in Plano offers several types of treatment. In this post, we’ll go over the symptoms and treatments of trigeminal neuralgia.

Trigeminal neuralgia may include one or more of the following patterns or symptoms:

  • Severe Pain - Episodes of severe, shooting, or jabbing pain that may feel like an electric shock
  • Spontaneous Pain - Spontaneous attacks of pain or attacks triggered by things such as touching the face, chewing, speaking, or brushing teeth
  • Bouts of Pain - Bouts of pain lasting from a few seconds to several minutes
  • Pain Attacks - Episodes of several attacks lasting days, weeks, months, or longer. Some people have periods when they experience no pain.
  • Constant Aching - A constant aching, burning feeling that may occur before it evolves into the spasm-like pain of trigeminal neuralgia
  • Pain Around Mouth - Pain in areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve, including the cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, lips, or less often than the eye and forehead
  • Pain On One Side Of The Face - Pain affecting one side of the face at a time though may rarely affect both sides of the face
  • Focused Pain - Pain focused in one spot or spread in a wider pattern
  • Intensified Attacks - Attacks that become more frequent and intense over time

If you experience facial pain, particularly prolonged or recurring pain, especially if over-the-counter medications don’t work, see your doctor.

With trigeminal neuralgia, there is a disruption in the trigeminal nerve. Usually, the cause of this is contact between an artery or vein and the trigeminal nerve at the base of your brain. This places pressure on the nerve and causes it to malfunction.


This can occur as a result of aging. It can also be related to multiple sclerosis or other disorders that damage the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is a layer of protective tissue that protects certain nerves, including the trigeminal nerve. A tumor pressing on the nerve may also cause trigeminal neuralgia.


Some people experience trigeminal neuralgia because of a brain lesion. You may also experience trigeminal neuralgia due to surgical injuries, stroke, or facial trauma.


Once this disruption in the trigeminal nerve occurs, there are a number of triggers that may “set off” the pain of trigeminal neuralgia. Some of these triggers include:

  • Shaving
  • Touching your face
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Talking
  • Putting on makeup
  • Encountering a breeze
  • Smiling
  • Washing your face

Your Pain Relief Center physician can diagnose trigeminal neuralgia mostly based on your descriptions of the pain. This will include your descriptions of:

  • Type of pain. Trigeminal neuralgia pain is sudden and brief
  • Location of the pain. Your trigeminal nerve only carries sensations to certain parts of your face. If these parts of your face are experiencing pain, your doctor can be relatively certain it is trigeminal neuralgia. 
  • Triggers. If you experience pain mostly after light touching of your cheeks, that is a hallmark of trigeminal neuralgia.


There are a few tests your doctor can run to determine the root cause of your trigeminal neuralgia. These tests include:

  • A neurological examination. Touching parts of your face can help your doctor determine which branches of your trigeminal nerve are malfunctioning
  • MRI. An MRI can help determine if multiple sclerosis or a tumor is causing your trigeminal neuralgia. 


It is important to get an accurate diagnosis for treatment options, as there are many different conditions that may cause facial pain. Dr. Rodriguez and his team may order other tests to rule out other causes for the pain.

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The most critical step on the path to recovery is finding a pain management doctor who can address your pain management needs successfully. The Pain Relief Center and its five specialized institutes are dedicated to meeting any and all of a patient’s needs. Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Dr. Rodriguez and his friendly staff will help you along the path to recovery.

Our new center in Dallas is part of a nationwide development by Pain Relief Centers, geared to providing individualized and comprehensive healing and pain management services with unprecedented levels of compassion, care, and comfort for each patient.

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