About Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), formerly called tic douloreux, is the most common facial pain syndrome and is often described as "the most terrible pain known to man". It is characterized by sudden (paroxysmal) attacks of facial pain described as intense, sharp, electric-shock like, or stabbing. The pain is most commonly felt in the cheekbone, nose, upper lip and upper teeth. In some people, the pain also extends to the lower lip, teeth, and chin. Pain is usually felt on one side of the face (unilateral) and lasts from a few seconds to two minutes. People with TN report that the intermittent pain attacks and the anticipatory anxiety of not knowing when they will occur result in a significant deterioration of quality of life and interfere with daily activities such as eating and sleeping. Typically, TN is caused by compression of the trigeminal nerve by a blood vessel near the brainstem. In many cases, however, a specific cause cannot be identified. This is referred to as idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia.

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) classifies TN into the following 3 types based on the underlying causes of the condition:

  • Idiopathic TN - no apparent cause can be identified.

  • Classic TN - caused by a blood vessel compressing the trigeminal nerve root.

  • Secondary TN - most frequently caused by multiple sclerosis or a benign tumor at the cerebellopontine angle, which is an area located between the cerebellum and the pons (a part of the brainstem).

Various studies have estimated the incidence of TN to range from 4 to 27 cases per 100,000 per year. The condition affects women more often than men. In one large study published in 2016, the proportion of women to men with TN was about 3 to 1.TN is most commonly observed in people between the ages of 37 to 67 years. The average age of onset of classic TN is 53, while patients with secondary TN tend to be about 10 years younger with an average age of onset of 43 years.

Many patients describe a specific triggering event that may precipitate an attack of classic TN. These triggers can include chewing, talking, swallowing, tooth brushing, and shaving.

The diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia is a clinical one based on the history of an individual's signs and symptoms. Once the diagnosis has been established clinically, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is often used to determine if the pain is caused by compression of the trigeminal nerve root by a blood vessel.

The hallmark feature of trigeminal neuralgia is orofacial pain which the IASP defines as "sudden, unilateral, severe, brief, stabbing, recurring episodes of pain in the distribution of one or more branches of the trigeminal nerve".

Orofacial pain may occur as a result of several other medical conditions. These conditions must be excluded before a doctor reaches a definitive diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia. Other possible causes of facial pain that must be taken into consideration include ear infections, sinusitis, acute glaucoma, "phantom" tooth pain, and post-herpetic neuralgia.

The two primary goals of treatment for trigeminal neuralgia are:

  • Controlling the symptoms
  • Treating an identified underlying cause of TN

In general, the following treatment options are available for patients with trigeminal neuralgia:

  • Drug therapy
  • Surgical therapy
  • Sterotactic Radiosurgery
  • Percutaneous procedures
  • Nerve blocks

Trigeminal neuralgia is not a life-threatening illness. Some patients experience a remission of pain lasting many years, while for others the symptoms intensify. Patients should monitor symptoms and discuss them with a physician so that appropriate steps to manage pain can be taken.

Many patients with trigeminal neuralgia experience recurrences of intense painful episodes. Initially most patients will respond to drug therapy, but over time medications become less effective and patients may begin to experience more frequent painful attacks as well as shorter periods of pain relief between episodes. When the pain becomes intractable or interferes significantly with daily activities, patients should be offered other available treatment options.

The Medifocus Guidebook on Trigeminal Neuralgia is a unique, comprehensive patient education resource that contains vital information about Trigeminal Neuralgia that you won't find anywhere else in a single resource. The Guidebook will answer many of your questions about this condition that your healthcare provider may not have the time to answer. To learn more about the Guidebook, please click here

About the Medifocus Guidebook on Trigeminal Neuralgia

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia, it's important to learn as much as you possibly can about this condition so that you can make informed decisions about your treatment.

The Medifocus Guidebook on Trigeminal Neuralgia is a unique and comprehensive patient education resource that contains vital information about Trigeminal Neuralgia that you won't find anywhere else in a single source. Available both as a Soft-Cover Book and as an E-Book (PDF), the Guidebook will answer many of your questions about Trigeminal Neuralgia, including:

  • The causes and risk factors for Trigeminal Neuralgia.
  • The clinical signs and symptoms.
  • The diagnostic tests and procedures that are necessary to confirm the diagnosis of Trigeminal Neuralgia.
  • The standard treatments and the treatment options currently available for the management of Trigeminal Neuralgia.
  • The impact of Trigeminal Neuralgia on quality of life.
  • The latest clinical and research advances for Trigeminal Neuralgia as reported in credible, trustworthy medical journals.
  • A directory of doctors and medical centers that have special interest and clinical expertise in the management of patients with Trigeminal Neuralgia.
  • A listing of organizations where patients can seek additional information, services, and support.

Whether you've been newly diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia or have suffered with it for several years, the Medifocus Guidebook on Trigeminal Neuralgia can serve as a valuable resource to help you better understand and cope with this condition. When you purchase your copy of either the Soft-Cover Book or the E-Book (PDF), you will also receive Free Updates for one-year.

Thousands of satisfied customers have purchased the Medifocus Guidebook on Trigeminal Neuralgia for themselves, a loved one, and even their healthcare provider. Their Testimonials are a tribute to the quality of the work product that our editorial staff has created. With a customer-satisfaction rating of over 98%, we're so confident that you will be satisfied with your purchase that we offer an iron-clad Risk-Free Satisfaction Guarantee. To learn more about the content, please download a Free Preview of the Guidebook that will enable you to review an abbreviated version of the individual sections.


My 19 year old daughter is suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia. The TN Guidebook was very informative - especially in pinpointing the symptoms and giving us resources on where to go for additional information and help from doctors. Thanks for putting all this information in one place and making it easy to read and use.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I spent numerous hours in the library and on the Internet looking for information on trigeminal neuralgia. The MediFocus Guidebook on Trigeminal Neuralgia I purchased was the BEST and most detailed of the all the information I could find. I have referred to the Guidebook many times...thank you for offering it.
Phoenix, Arizona
The MediFocus Guidebook on Trigeminal Neuralgia was very helpful and full of legitimate resources. The Guidebook described the various approaches to treatment in a detailed but very readable manner. It has provided me with the ammunition I needed to engage my doctor in a detailed discussion about my treatment options.
Birmingham, Alabama
Thanks for a chance to say a few words about your MediFocus Guidebook. When unexplained illness hit me, I didn't know what it was or what to ask my doctor. Then I purchased your Guidebook and that made all the difference. When I arrived with a list of pointed questions, the doctor spent more time with me than before and I felt comfortable understanding the diagnosis and treatment. Thanks for understanding what I was up against... it has helped a lot.
Prescott, Arizona
It is great to have serious health issues explained in an easy to understand format. When you are ill, it is overwhelming when you trying to search for information about your illness. Medifocus helps you find the important information regarding your issues and the latest research and discussions by the medical profession. I am enjoying my Guidebook.
Ft. Bragg, California
Thanks for the wonderful MediFocus Guidebook. The more familiar I've become with it, the less it scares me to know that I have this condition. It is comforting to know that there is so much research ongoing even though there is not a cure just yet. Many thanks for your Guidebook?one person could never have compiled all of these sources together alone.
Jacksonville, Florida