The term Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), has
two words within it. Trigeminal nerve is one of the (twelve) cranial
(head) nerves which has three divisions (ophthalmic, maxillary, and
mandibular) supplying to the areas of upper eye-lid to the lower chin.
Neuralgia means pain. TN is a disorder of the Trigeminal nerve which
presents as facial pain and headache. The pain is characteristically
sharp, episodic, periodical, excruciating,
stabbing and short lasting.
Trigeminal nerve is the largest of twelve cranial nerves. All sensations
from the face and mouth are covered by the Trigeminal nerve. One of the
branches of the Trigeminal is often injected by your dentist while
working on your dental cavity.
TN is also known as tic douloureux.
When the patient's Trigeminal nerve during an acute neuralgia phase was
studied under electron microscope, it was revealed that the abnormality
existed at the level of the inner nerve fibers called axons which carry
nerve sensation, as well as the myelin (the nerve lining covering the
nerve fibers). Due
to the damage to such delicate parts, the nerve fiber behave
like electrical wire with open ends, leading to electric
shock like pain induced by touch or jerk.
causes Trigeminal Neuralgia?
The causes of TN are explained in detail on a separate page.
In short, it has been increasingly proved and understood
that most cases of TN have demyelination of the sensory
nerve fibers of the Trigeminal Nerve, either in the nerve
root or (rarely) the brain stem. Demyelination means an
erosion of the nerve sheath, which leads to the exposure of
the nerve fibers.The exposed nerve fibers often get
compressed or irritated by blood vessels (pulsating arteries
or veins), which lead to painful episodes of Trigeminal