Trigeminal neuralgia is severe spastic, lancinating facial pain due to a disorder of the 5th cranial nerve.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Symptoms include pain occurring along the distribution of one or more sensory divisions of the trigeminal nerve, most often the maxillary (upper jaw). The pain is paroxysmal (spastic), lasting seconds up to 2 min, but attacks may recur rapidly. It is lancinating, excruciating, and sometimes incapacitating. Trigeminal neuralgia pain is often precipitated by stimulating a facial trigger point (eg. by chewing, brushing the teeth, or smiling). Sleeping on that side of the face is often intolerable.
Trigeminal neuralgia symptoms are almost pathognomonic. Neurologic examination is normal in trigeminal neuralgia. Thus, neurologic deficits (usually loss of facial sensation) suggest that the Trigeminal neuralgia like pain is caused by another disorder (e.g. tumor, stroke, multiple sclerosis plaque, vascular malformation, other lesions) that compress the trigeminal nerve or disrupt its brain stem pathways.
If pain is severe despite pharmacologic treatment, a surgical treatments are considered.