Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve (main nerve of the face). The typical form results in episodes of severe, sudden, shock-like pain in one side of the face that lasts for seconds to a few minutes. Groups of these episodes can occur over a few hours. It is one of the most painful conditions and can result in depression.

Unilateral, sharp, shooting, stabbing, lancinating, shock-like, cutting, burning, paroxysmal pain along the distribution of one or more branches of the Trigeminal Nerve is the patient’s chief complaint. Pain is triggered by a non -painful stimulus such as talking, chewing, touch, temperature, wind and shaving. Pain does not occur at night, does not wake patients from sleep. Patients usually have a frozen or mask like face.

Depending on the severity of the pain and the branches of the Trigeminal Nerve involved, treatment may be conservative or surgical. Conservative management includes drug therapy and/or Accupuncture. Surgical treatment includes Peripheral alcohol injections, Peripheral neurectomy, Cryotherapy and Radiofrequency Thermocoagulation of the offending branches.