Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is considered the most painful neurological disease because it causes unrelenting head and facial pain in those who suffer from it – often being described as an intense burning or stabbing pain. According to an article from Medical News Today, about 45,000 people (1 in 15,000) in the USA and nearly 1 million worldwide have trigeminal neuralgia. While tumors, aneurysms, or a compressed nerve can trigger TN, often there is no direct cause for trigeminal neuralgia. In some cases an inflammatory disease such as Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, or sarcoidosis can activate TN. Typically pain lasts a few minutes and in 97% of cases affects only one side of the face. Most people with TN are over the age of 40 or 50 and women are twice as likely as man to develop it. Arming yourself with information can help reduce occurrences and possibly provide long-term relief.
Ways to Reduce or Prevent Trigeminal Neuralgia Pain
- Contact a neurologist. A good neurologist like Newport Beach neurosurgeon, Dr. Duma, can help you determine if and which surgical intervention may help reduce pain and prevent trigeminal neuralgia attacks. Dr. Duma offers multiple treatment options including microvascular decompression and stereotactic radiosurgery. Following surgery, about 85% of patients experience pain relief, while only 25% of patients experience some level of recurrence in 1-5 years.
- Keep a medical record. Track the medications, vitamins, and herbs you’ve been taking along with any history of attacks. Share this information with your neurologist.
- Vitamin up. Magnesium has been shown to improve nerve health, potentially reducing nerve pain. Taking magnesium along with a vitamin B complex and quality multivitamins may improve and reduce the frequency of TN flares.
- Treat headaches. Headaches can worsen TN; don’t just let them be.
- Protect your face. Touching your face, cold breezes, and kisses or hugs can all stimulate TN. Cover your face while sleeping and avoid sleeping on the sensitive side.
- Take up a hobby. It may seem strange to suggest that a hobby will prevent TN pain, however, focusing on something that interests you can help distract you and provide relief.
- Eat soft foods. Especially during attacks, soft foods will be easier to eat than hard or chewy foods.
- Sleep. Sleep deprivation can lengthen or heighten attacks. Get enough rest.
- Tend to your teeth. Surprisingly enough, some patients experience TN after having a root canal. Make sure to take good care of your teeth, even during attacks.
Dr. Duma is one of the most experienced and trusted board certified neurosurgeons is his field. He has been treating movement disorders, brain tumors, and other neurological diseases since 1987. To find trigeminal neuralgia treatment in Newport Beach, call Dr. Duma’s office at 949-642-6787 or contact his office online.