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Trigeminal Neuralgia: What Is It?
Imagine waking up and having constant facial pain in your eyes, lips and jaw. You go to the dentist because it feels like a toothache. After tooth extractions the pain is still there and it is becoming unbearable. You finally go to the doctor and he diagnoses it as trigeminal neuralgia. This article examines this condition and looks at the various symptoms associated with it.
Trigeminal neuralgia or tic douloureux is a condition of the nerve that is responsible for causing extreme pain to various parts of the face such as eyes, nose, lips, head and scalp. The pain is a sharp quick burst and can be unbearable. The pain is often concentrated in one side of the face and can become too much for some people to bear. Before a proper diagnosis was found, the disease would often be called the suicide disease. This is because people would take their own life to get away from the pain associated with the condition.
With the first onset of trigeminal neuralgia the individual might feel very quick and short pain jabs. Over time, as the condition progresses, the pain that the person feels can become more frequent and more painful. There is no set onset of the condition and it can be triggered by things such as shaving, putting on makeup or even brushing your teeth. It is estimated that over 15,000 people suffer from the condition. Other circles have this number being much higher as it is often misdiagnosed. The condition usually affects people who are in their 40's and 50's but it has also been noted in young children.
Trigeminal neuralgia usually occurs when there is contact between a normal artery or vein and the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is located at the base of your brain. When they touch this will put pressure on the nerve and causes the nerve to misfire. There have been other indicators; that nerve damage and even stress could be one of the first triggers. Once the trigeminal nerve leaves your brain and travels through your skull, it will become divided into three smaller branches. These three branches are in charge of controlling the sensations that you feel in your face. Each branch controls something different. The first branch controls sensation in your eyes, upper eyelids and forehead. Branch two controls sensation in your lower eyelid, cheek, nostril, upper lip and upper gum. The third branch is responsible for your jaw, lower gum, lower lip and some of the muscles you use for chewing.
Trigeminal neuralgia can be a very debilitating condition. It affects a small percentage of the population but many more might be affected because of misdiagnosis.
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