Home / Disease Headache. Causes, symptoms and treatment. / What is trigeminal neuralgia?

What is trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia is a disease is not too common. According to statistics, it occurs in one person in 15 thousand, but it can bring a lot of discomfort and significantly impair quality of life.

Most often this disease occurs in women, especially older 50-55 years, but men and people younger are not immune from it.

What is trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia is a neurological disease that provoked the largest nerve responsible for the sensitivity of the person. It consists of three branches, each of which involve their area.

Neuralgia of the trigeminal nerve, also called trigeminal neuralgia and disease Fothergilla. Its present name she received when she was described by a famous physician of that time Areteus.

This disease is known since ancient times. Many of the treatises referred to a disease, in which the "face hurts". Characteristic spasms tried to treat in different ways, including surgically, but success is rarely cited.

Today diagnosis and treatment of this disease do neurologists. This doctor need to go with various strange pains and cramps.

Signs of the disease

Symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia is characteristic enough that the doctor could make a diagnosis based solely on one complaint. As a rule, patients reported the following factors:

  1. The pain is severe, painful, paroxysmal. They are often described as an electric shock.
  2. The spasm lasts from a few seconds to 1-2 minutes. Between the attacks there is always a break.
  3. The pain is localized strictly in one side of the face. In rare cases, the bouts move from one side of the face to another.
  4. Localized pain meets one, two or three branches of the trigeminal nerve.
  5. Provoke an attack can certain triggers such as tapping certain points of the face, friction of the skin, chewing food on the side, cold wind.
  6. During the attack patients freeze instinctively try to wait it out, in rare cases, rubbing or massaging the skin.
  7. Skin corresponding to the area of the affected nerve branches may be more or less susceptible to outside attack.

These symptoms allow the diagnosis of "trigeminal neuralgia", but not to determine its cause.

Similar symptoms may have some other diseases, for example, neuralgia of other nerves.

Causes of trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is, in fact, is not an independent disease, but a syndrome of his irritation. And factors that can cause quite a lot:

  1. Viraldisease. Some viral infections can cause damage to the nerves, including the trigeminal. As a rule, the cause of getting the herpes virus.
  2. Of dental pathology. Chronic caries, pulpitis, cyst can irritate the nerve. Also this may result in irritation of the nerves outside of the tooth root filling material, failed anesthesia, as well as traumatic tooth extraction.
  3. Of vascular pathology. Curved vessels can compress the nerve at its exit from the channel, which is sealed by a sheath of nerve that causes the irritation and pain.
  4. Nerve compression in the canal. In some cases, the channel is deformed, which also irritates the nerve.
  5. Tumor. Such pain attacks can also cause the development of tumors in the place of the outputs from the channel.
  6. The consequences of the injury. Concussions and facial injuries can result in deformities causing nerve disease.

Thus, trigeminal neuralgia is dangerous not only pain but also the causes which lead to it. And most of them are essential aimed diagnosis.

Diagnosis of the disease

Despite the fact that there are methods to ease pain in neuralgia, it is crucial to find and eliminate the cause. Without this, the treatment efficiency will fall, and the attacks are becoming more common.

To determine the cause you can use the following methods:

  1. Examination by a neurologist. This doctor performs the initial examination and examination, determines the future direction of the survey. First of all, he asks, when there are seizures that cause them where the pain is localized. This allows him to confirm the diagnosis of "trigeminal neuralgia".
  2. Examination by a dentist. Some dental diseases cause such problems, so they need to fix in the first place.
  3. Panoramic radiograph of the teeth and bones of the skull. Using this method it is possible to study the structure of the bone, including to detect lesions, which may compress and irritate the nerve.
  4. MRI. This study gives a more extended view of the structure of the nerves, as well as the location of the blood vessels and tissues. Using this method you can determine the presence of vascular abnormalities, tumors, cysts, and bone remodeling.
  5. Electromyography. This study allows to determine the peculiarities of transmission of signals through the nerve.
  6. A blood test for characteristic viral markers. With this survey excluded the possibility of the viral nature of the disease.

This examination allows to detect the cause of pain and to treat trigeminal neuralgia directions.

Neuralgia treatmentternary nerve

Today there are many methods of treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. It is necessary to allocate two main directions:

  1. Treatment external symptoms of pain spasm. Includes therapeutic and surgical methods. Used to relieve pain, while the root cause and in cases of so-called idiopathic neurosis when his true reason was not found.
  2. Directed treatment. If the detected pathology that led to the emergence of neuralgia, to get rid of this problem is possible if to eliminate the root cause. Treatment in each case is selected individually.

If the cause could not figure out, you have to resort to the following methods of treatment:

  1. Drug therapy. The drugs of choice are Phenytoin and Carbamazepine. They are prescribed in standard dosage, and after some time it decreases. These medications in most cases allow to get rid of painful cramps, but often they are addictive that reduce the efficiency and cause the appearance of side effects.
  2. Traditional methods of treatment. In itself they cannot replace the expert diagnosis and treatment, but you can speed up recovery and reduce the likelihood of side effects. Used for this infusion of yarrow or root of Polygonum amphibians.
  3. Physiotherapy. There are some rather effective methods of treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. So often recommended to undergo paraffin therapy applications or currents Bernard. Often effective are different methods of acupuncture: acupressure, acupuncture, hirudotherapy.
  4. Blockade of the nerve. There are methods of temporary blockade of the trigeminal nerve, which allow for some time to get rid of the attack. This applies, for example, alcoholism – injection of 80% ethanol. But they give only a temporary effect, and also have a number of effects and are addictive, so can not be used on a regular basis.

Separately to highlight the surgical treatment. It has a number of complications and is rarely applied, only if you could not find the cause of pain if conservative treatment is not helping or attacks are becoming more common.

Surgical treatment usually involves destroying the affected branches or the entire nerve as a whole. This allows you to get rid of pain attacks, but has a number of dangerous consequences, so it is prescribed only in exceptional cases. Much more preferable is the root cause of neuralgia andher elimination.