OverviewNeuralgia refers to severe nerve pain that occurs due to nerve damage, nerve irritation, infection or other diseases. It is also called neuropathy or trigeminal neuralgia pain and commonly affects the older adults.
Symptoms of Neuralgia:
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Causes of neuralgia
The exact cause of the condition is not completely understood. However, it may be caused by damage or injury to trigeminal nerve. The pain episodes may be triggered by light stimulation on the cheeks such as from talking, eating etc.
Types of neuralgia
To diagnose trigeminal neuralgia, doctor checks the detailed medical history and perform neurological test. The neurological examination help doctor to determine where the pain is occurring and which branch of trigeminal nerve is affected. Through MRI, trigeminal nerve damage is checked. The facial pain can occur due to different medical conditions, so an accurate diagnosis is important.
Trigeminal neuralgia treatment includes medications. However, some people do not respond to medications or they experience side effects. For those people, injections or trigeminal neuralgia surgery is the best occipital neuralgia treatment option.
The doctor prescribe medications that can reduce or block the pain signals sent to the brain.
Anticonvulsants such as gabapentin or carbamazepine
Antispasmodic agents such as baclofen may be used alone or in combination with carbamazepine.
Botox injections may reduce pain from trigeminal neuralgia
Surgical options for trigeminal neuralgia include:
Microvascular decompression: It involves relocation or removal of blood vessels which are in touch with the trigeminal root to stop the nerve from malfunctioning.
Brain stereotactic radiosurgery involves the radiation to the root of trigeminal nerve which damages the trigeminal nerve and reduce pain.
Trigeminal neuralgia is not life-threatening but it can be very painful and affect the quality of life. Some individuals manage it with medications, while others opt for trigeminal neuralgia surgery.