Alternate Names : Tic Douloureux
Neuralgia is a term for pain caused by a nerve problem. Trigeminal neuralgia is a painful condition that affects the trigeminal nerve in the face, also called the fifth cranial nerve. This nerve is responsible for sensing touch, pain, pressure, and temperature in the face, jaw, gums, and forehead, and around the eyes.
What is going on in the body?
Nerve pain can affect almost any nerve in the body. Its cause is poorly understood. Some researchers think it is an electrical problem, much like a loose or damaged electrical wire. The fifth cranial nerve gives sensation to almost the entire face. That's why this disorder can cause pain in different areas of the face. Fortunately, treatment can help stop the pain for most people.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
This disorder is more common in women than men. It rarely affects people younger than 50 years old. In most cases, the exact cause is unknown. In very rare cases, a cause is found for this disorder. These causes include:
injury to the face or oral surgery
autoimmune disorders, in which the immune system attacks the person's own body. Autoimmune disorders include multiple sclerosis and scleroderma.
herpes zoster, often called shingles, which is a viral infection that can irritate nerves
abnormal arteries or blood vessels, which can compress the nerve. One example is an aneurysm, an abnormally widened area in an artery. Malformations of normal blood vessels, called arteriovenous malformations, are another cause.
tumors or cancer, which may also compress the nerve. In these cases, there are usually other symptoms in addition to nerve pain