Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia is usually described as the worst pain experienced. Women consistently claim that TN pain is worse than childbirth. trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic facial pain which is usually unilateral and pain is described as sharp, electric shock like. An episode can last up to 2 minutes with lots of electric shock like zaps repeatedly. A patient's day could be filled with lots of such episodes rendering the patient helpless and terrified. Such is the nature of TN that a typical trigeminal neuralgia patient would always recall the exact moment when the first strike was felt, for it had come like a lightning bolt of out the blue; in an area of the face such as the lips, eyes, nose, scalp, forehead, upper jaw, and lower jaw.

Light touches such as brushing teeth, or shaving or even a light breeze would trigger off an attack. When pain is in the mouth area eating, talking and even smiling becomes a horrendous task.

The incidence is approximately 4 new cases per 100,000 population per year. The onset is usually after 50 years of age, with a slight lean towards female in the gender ratio. However, there are records of children and infants that have been presented with TN.

Controlling the pain through antiepileptic drugs is the initial therapy. However, when medication no longer satisfactorily controls the pain, surgical treatment may be pursued.

TN is also known as the suicide disease, but with knowledge, there is hope and patients now cope better.


The Australian Pain Management Association Ltd. (APMA) is a health promotion charity providing advocacy, information and practical support for people living with chronic (persistent) pain and their families. APMA is the consumer health organisation for all Australians who live with pain. APMA is your voice.


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