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Trigeminal Neuralgia: What Causes This Facial Pain?

Updated: Jan 15

Facial pain can be caused by many possible conditions, such as migraines, cluster headaches, sinus infections, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Aside from these common illnesses, there is one nerve disorder that can also cause severe pain on your face called “trigeminal neuralgia.


Although rare, trigeminal neuralgia can happen in both young adults and older ones. That being said, it is more common in individuals older than 50 years and affects women more than men. People who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia usually require extensive facial pains treatment in Singapore to relieve themselves from the severe pain associated with this condition. To learn more about this disorder, read on as this article discusses what trigeminal neuralgia is, including its common symptoms and causes.


What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?


Trigeminal neuralgia is a rare nerve disorder that is characterised by pain from the trigeminal nerve, which commences near the top of your ear and breaks into three – towards your cheek, jaw, and eye. The pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia is not the same as the facial pain caused by other conditions. It is usually described as a stabbing and lancinating pain, which is so severe that the individual who experiences it is unable to eat or drink.


The pain of trigeminal neuralgia travels through the face within just a few seconds, but as the condition exacerbates, it can last for a couple of minutes or even longer. If you have this nerve disorder, even a slight stimulation or movement of your face, such as putting on makeup and brushing your teeth, can already trigger a blow of extreme pain. As such, it is necessary to diagnose and treat trigeminal neuralgia right away to prevent it from progressing and affecting your quality of life.


Common symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia


As mentioned earlier, trigeminal neuralgia is more common in women than men and affects older people more frequently. Moreover, the pain associated with this disorder often occurs more on the right side of the face than on the left side. To determine whether your facial pain is caused by trigeminal neuralgia, here are some common symptoms you need to look out for:


  • Persistent episodes of severe jabbing or shooting pain that may sometimes be similar to the sensation of an electric shock

  • Sudden pain attacks triggered by mild things, such as chewing, speaking, touching the face, and brushing the teeth.

  • Pain attacks that last for a few seconds to several minutes.

  • Bouts of several attacks that last for days, weeks, months, or even longer.

  • Pain in areas that are covered by the trigeminal nerve, such as the jaw, cheek, lips, teeth, gums, or, less often, the forehead and the eye.

  • Pain that affects only one side of the face.

  • Pain that is either concentrated in one spot or spreads in a wider pattern.

  • Pain attacks that become more intense and frequent over time.


Major causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia


Trigeminal neuralgia typically happens spontaneously. Oftentimes, it may be a result of a blood vessel that presses against the trigeminal nerve in a phenomenon often referred to as “vascular compression.” The pulse of an artery that rubs against the trigeminal nerve can wear away the insulation called “myelin” over time, thereby leaving the nerve exposed and extremely sensitive.


Sometimes, trigeminal neuralgia is also associated with dental procedures and facial trauma. Its resulting symptoms can be the same as those caused by dental problems, and as such, individuals with undiagnosed trigeminal neuralgia often explore numerous dental procedures to try to manage the pain. In rare cases, people may also experience trigeminal neuralgia due to multiple sclerosis, brain lesions, and other abnormalities.




There are different possible causes of trigeminal neuralgia. Although rare, this nerve pain disorder can occur to anyone and can cause excruciating facial pain that worsens over time when left untreated. For this reason, it is very important to diagnose and treat trigeminal neuralgia right away, and the first step to doing this is to know the common causes and symptoms of this condition.


If you have been experiencing any or all of the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia, do not hesitate to consult with a medical expert from Affinity Pain Clinic immediately. We are a reputable pain management specialist that provides a plethora of effective and comprehensive treatments for different pain conditions, such as facial pain, nerve pain, neck pain, elbow pain, and Singapore musculoskeletal knee pain.


To find out more about our treatments or to schedule an appointment, do not hesitate to get in touch with us by filling out the contact form here.


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