Trigeminal NeuralgiaIndianapolis, IN
Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that affects the nerve that carries signals from the face to the brain called the trigeminal nerve. The disorder leads to chronic pain. Most people with this condition, they will often experience excruciating pain whenever something stimulates the face through touch.
Trigeminal neuralgia treatment is available at Indiana Craniofacial Center PC in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas. We will customize the treatment plan to the needs of each patient to help them find lasting symptom relief. We can also help patients find make lifestyle choices to further pain relief and treatment.
Call us at 317-283-1900 to set up an appointment.
Understanding Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia attacks often start as mild, short attacks. Over time, these painful episodes will become more intense and last longer. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states on Medline Plus that women and people over the age of 50 are more likely to develop trigeminal neuralgia.
Symptoms associated with trigeminal neuralgia include:
- Bouts of significant, shooting pain that sometimes feels like an electric shock
- Pain triggered by touching the face or speaking and eating
- Constant burning and aching around the face
- Pain that only affects one side of your face
- Focused pain on areas around to face
- Painful attacks that intensify over time
There are several ways to treat and manage trigeminal neuralgia. Doctors often look to treat it using medication or surgery.
Diagnosing Trigeminal Neuralgia
Treatment typically starts with the doctor evaluating the patient and the type of pain they experience. The location where the pain comes from lets us know if the trigeminal nerve is involved. As a craniofacial specialist, we can determine the source of the pain and recommend treatment.
We may need to perform a neurological examination to determine if the patient has trigeminal neuralgia. Reflex tests might also be necessary. In some cases, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help scan the patient's head to determine if a tumor or multiple sclerosis is causing their condition. In some instances, the doctor might inject a dye in the patient's bloodstream to evaluate their blood flow with an MRI. Many other conditions can lead to facial pain, so it is essential to receive a professional diagnosis before beginning treatment.
Treatment Options for Trigeminal Neuralgia
Treatment plans for trigeminal neuralgia usually begin with medication. By evaluating the severity of the patient's condition, we can determine the specific type of medication they will need. While some patients may need more than medication or will build an immunity to it over time, glycerol injections can help to block pain signals. Medication, such as anticonvulsants that contain carbamazepine, is a standard treatment method for trigeminal neuralgia.
Other drugs like muscle relaxers can also help with treatment. Surgical treatment options for trigeminal neuralgia include microvascular depression and brain stereotactic radiosurgery. However, we will attempt all non-surgical methods before considering surgical treatment. With radiosurgery, it will take at least a month for the patient to feel the full relief from the procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do dental problems cause trigeminal neuralgia?
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, there is not enough sufficient evidence to indicate that dental issues can lead to trigeminal neuralgia. Most dentists and doctors do not believe that underlying dental problems can cause it. People often get this idea in their head because the first pain they experience is typically somewhere around the jaw. It is easy to confuse this pain with the discomfort caused by an abscess.
Is trigeminal neuralgia painful?
Yes, that is one of the main symptoms associated with trigeminal neuralgia. The pain results from an irritation of the trigeminal nerve, typically by a healthy vein or artery making contact with it. The contact puts pressure on the nerve, causing it to misfire.
Are there any ways to relieve symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia alongside professional treatment?
Yes, there are. You can try to manage the pain by applying heat to the affected area. A warm compress or hot water bottle can help. A hot shower can also help to alleviate the pain.
Does trigeminal become worse over time?
Trigeminal neuralgia is known to worsen with time. The duration of the attacks can increase in length, and the pain intensifies. The disorder can significantly reduce your quality of life.
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