Trigeminal neuralgia, AKA tic douloureaux, is a chronic neuropathic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve (a cranial nerve). The trigeminal nerve is responsible for sensations in the face, mouth, and brain, so TN pain can be triggered by contact with the cheek, and actions like brushing teeth, eating, drinking, and even talking. TN attacks typically start, stop, and start again suddenly, and the attacks will often increase over time until the pain-free intervals stop completely.
Specifics Of Trigeminal Neuralgia
There are two types of trigeminal neuralgia: Type 1 (TN1) and Type 2 (TN2). Type 1 presents with severe intermittent shock-like pain in the face. This pain can last from a few seconds to as long as two minutes, and can occur in succession for up to two hours. Type 2 presents with constant aching, stabbing, or burning pain in the face. The pain is typically less intense than pain from Type 1 but occurs for longer periods. Although uncommon, an individual can experience both Type 1 and Type 2, sometimes even simultaneously. In these cases the pain can be debilitating for the suffering individual. Women and people over the age of 50 are at a higher risk for TN, although the condition can occur in anyone at any age.