Everyday, more than a billion people from all over the world suffer from chronic pain.
A growing source of chronic pain is trigeminal neuralgia. What is trigeminal neuralgia? It’s a type of chronic pain that affects the fifth cranial nerve (trigeminal), which is one of the body’s most widely distributed nerves in the head.
What is trigeminal neuralgia? It’s a form of neuropathic (nerve-related) pain involving the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is one of 12 pairs attached to the human brain and has three branches which help to conduct sensations from various portions of the face and the oral cavity to the brain.
What is trigeminal neuralgia? It’s a source of chronic pain that occurs in women and people older than 50. With that being said, it can strike at any age and affects about 12 people per 100,000 people every year according to data from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
If you’re still wondering, what is trigeminal neuralgia, these symptoms can serve as a warning that something just isn’t right:
- Bouts of pain that can last a few seconds, but can extend to several minutes.
- Bouts of severe, jabbing or shooting pain that can feel like an electric shock.
- Pain while doing things like touching your face, speaking, chewing gum or food, brushing your teeth or doing other everyday activities like washing your face or shaving.
- Pain that effects one or both sides of the face.
- Pain in areas affected by your trigeminal nerve like the jaws, teeth, gums and cheeks.
If you visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment, chances are the doctor is going to focus on three things:
- Pain: The doctor will figure out what type of pain you’re experiencing and whether it’s brief, prolonged, sharp or nagging.
- Triggers: Trigeminal neuralgia can be triggered by any number of everyday actions and activities. A doctor will figure out what those triggers are and how to treat them.
- Location: The location of the pain you experience in your face will allow a doctor to tell you just where the pain is coming from and whether or not that pain involves the trigeminal nerve.
When it comes to treatment of trigeminal neuralgia, one effective treatment is ultrasound therapy. It’s a noninvasive, early-stage type of therapy that helps improve everyday life for those suffering from trigeminal neuralgia and helps bring down the cost of medical care.
Ultrasound therapy uses energy beams to focus on an affected person’s nerves while not harming the tissue around them. As different beams converge, it allows the people administering the treatment to treat the affected area without surgery.
There are several advantages to ultrasound therapy including:
- It’s noninvasive, so affected patients won’t have concerns about having surgery or getting infections.
- Ultrasound therapy can be repeated for patients if needed.
- Ultrasound therapy reaches the affected area precisely without damaging other tissue.
When it comes to the administration and effectiveness of ultrasound therapy, there are essentially two different schools of thought:
- One school holds the belief that trigeminal neuralgia can be treated with focused ultrasound in a noninvasive way to heat and ultimately destroy pain fibers. This type of treatment is seen as beneficial when compared to radiation treatment or surgery.
- The other school of thought holds that trigeminal neuralgia is a localized form of nerve pain and treat it as such. Medical treatments are offer which relieve more than 50 percent of the pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia. Options for getting treated this way include medication or surgery.
There are any number of symptoms that arise as a result of trigeminal neuralgia and visiting a doctor to nail down the location and triggers of those symptoms can help you find the best treatment to deal with your pain.