Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a type of chronic pain that affects your face. It causes extreme, sudden burning or shock-like pain. It usually affects one side of the face. Any vibration on your face, even from talking, can set it off. The condition may come and go, disappearing for days or even months. But the longer you have it, the less often it goes away.
TN usually affects people over 50, especially women. The cause is probably a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head. Tumors and multiple sclerosis can also cause TN, but in some cases the cause is unknown.
There is no single test to diagnose TN. It can be hard to diagnose, since many other conditions can cause facial pain. Treatment options include medicines, surgery, and complementary techniques.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- JAMA Patient Page: Trigeminal Neuralgia (American Medical Association) - PDF Available in Spanish
- Trigeminal Neuralgia (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Trigeminal Neuralgia (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Available in Spanish
- Trigeminal Neuralgia (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Trigeminal Neuralgia (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- Find a Neurologist (American Academy of Neurology)
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Available in Spanish