Trigeminal Neuralgia

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Trigeminal Neuralgia is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Summary

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also known as tic douloureux, is a disorder of the fifth cranial nerve (trigeminal nerve). The disorder is sometimes broken down into type 1 and type 2. TN type 1 (TN1) is characterized by attacks of intense, stabbing pain affecting the mouth, cheek, nose, and/or other areas on one side of the face. TN type 2 (TN2) is characterized by less intense pain, but a constant dull aching or burning pain. Both types of pain can occur in the same individual, even at the same time. In some cases, the pain can be excruciating and incapacitating. If untreated, TN can have a profound effect on a person's quality of life. In most cases, TN1 develops due to a blood vessel pressing against the trigeminal nerve, but sometimes no underlying cause can be identified (idiopathic). TN2 can be idiopathic, due to compression of the trigeminal nerve, or can occur due to a known underlying cause such as a tumor or multiple sclerosis. It is not known why one person gets symptoms of TN1 versus TN2; it may be due to the number of vessels (e.g. arteries, veins) or the degree of compression. TN can usually be managed through medications, surgery or injections.

Introduction

There is no consensus or agreed upon classification system for TN. TN1 is also known as classical trigeminal neuralgia. TN2 was once known as atypical or symptomatic TN. However the term "atypical" trigeminal neuralgia has been inconsistently used for individuals who do not have TN1 and remains a vague, undefined term. Consequently, many researchers and patients have advocated eliminating the term "atypical TN", which remains a "wastebasket" diagnosis that serves no useful purpose and is often a disservice to patients. Symptomatic TN is often reserved for cases that develop because of multiple sclerosis. The term trigeminal neuropathic facial pain may be used for pain that results from unintentional injury to the trigeminal nerve, which can result from a variety of conditions including facial trauma, oral surgery, ear, nose and throat surgery, or stroke.

Supporting Organizations

American Chronic Pain Association

P.O. Box 850
Rocklin, CA 95677
USA
Tel: (916)632-0922
Fax: (916)652-8190
Tel: (800)533-3231
Email: ACPA@theacpa.org
Website: http://www.theacpa.org

American Pain Society

8735 W. Higgins Road
Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60631
Tel: 847.375.4715
Email: info@americanpainsociety.org
Website: http://www.ampainsoc.org

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
Website: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424
Website: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

TNA - The Facial Pain Association

408 W. University Ave
Suite 602
Gainesville, FL 32601
Fax: (352)384-3606
Tel: (800)923-3608
Email: patientinfo@tna-support.org
Website: http://fpa-support.org/

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  2/26/2014
Copyright  2014 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.