Trigeminal Nerve Pain and What Can Be Done About It
One of the least mentioned symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) is trigeminal neuralgia, which can result in pain of the facial and cranial region.
This symptom, which appears more in women than men, can be debilitating, however most cases are very short lived and therefore easily maintained.
What Is the Trigeminal Nerve?
The trigeminal nerve is in control of all of the feelings you have in your face. The trigeminal root is connected directly to your brain and is the trunk of three main nerve pathways that stretch across your face.
You have one trigeminal nerve on each side of your skull, with the central location landing directly in front of your ear, your cochlear region, inside your brain cavity. If the trigeminal nerve is inflamed due to injury or lesions (as you would have in MS), it will send pain signals throughout its three major pathways.
The sensations will stretch their way up and around your eyes and forehead by way of the ophthalmic division, across your cheekbones and below your nose by following the maxillary division, and down your jaw and around your chin by way of the mandibular division.
Basically, the trigeminal nerve is an intricate tree that covers one hemisphere of your face and skull with gorgeously intricate branches of nerves that control all of your sensations, good and bad, and deliver their signals back to the brain.
Experiencing Trigeminal Neuralgia
Experiencing TN means you are feeling the negative effects of this vastly interconnected highway of nerves. What, to you, might feel like a punch in the face, is in actuality the effect of your trigeminal nerve going through an injury.
Your nerve is dealing with a malfunction, but is trying to take care of its role within your body. The pain would not exist if your nerve was not working hard to do its job. It is just being fed the wrong information and it is struggling to find homeostasis.
Just like any symptom of MS, trigeminal neuralgia can come and go with disease progression or even with a pseudo relapse.
Oftentimes, people who get TN won’t even realize it’s the problem they are having.
Like I said before, the pain, when mild, can feel like you have been punched in the face or hit on the head.
Having MS means you gain an intricate perspective of your neurological system. TN is just another symptom that adds to your ever-growing, firsthand knowledge of your central nervous system.
Treating Your Symptoms
A lot of times, a person will wake up with a bruised sensation on their skin and think to themselves, “I must have bumped into something yesterday.” This level of pain can be treated with the same over-the-counter pain meds you would use for any other ache or pain.
Next page: how to treat severe cases of trigeminal neuralgia