Trigeminal neuralgia is an impairment of the nerve that controls sensation in the face. It usually results from one of the blood vessels at the base of the brain coming into contact with the trigeminal nerve. People with this condition often find that excruciating pain can follow mild stimuli, such as putting on makeup or simply touching the face.
Trigeminal neuralgia is relatively rare in young people. Most people who are affected are fifty or older, and women are affected more often than men. Sometimes seen as a normal part of aging, it can also be related to some medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, or to strokes or surgical injuries.
Symptoms range from mild to severe, and include the following:
Most cases of trigeminal neuralgia happen intermittently, with the individual experiencing extended episodes of intense pain interspersed with pain-free periods. Attacks can be triggered by a variety of things, including the following: