ABC Medical Center > Trigeminal neuralgia

What is Trigeminal neuralgia?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a condition that alters the trigeminal nerve, which is located at the base of the brain, generating chronic pain due to the pressure exerted by a vein on the nerve, so the discomfort usually spreads from the face to the brain, even with activities as simple as rubbing the face or smiling.

Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as tic douloureux, is more common in women, especially those over 50 years old, as a consequence of the aging process. However, the presence of a tumor, a stroke, facial trauma, injuries, brain surgeries, or a degenerative disease such as multiple sclerosis, can also trigger it.

Several factors can trigger trigeminal neuralgia, such as:

  • Shaving.
  • Drinking beverages.
  • Brushing your teeth.
  • Eating food.
  • Talking.
  • Washing your face.
  • Putting makeup.
  • Laughing.
  • Touching your face.

Signs and symptoms Trigeminal neuralgia

The characteristic symptoms consist of:

  • Sudden pain.
  • Pain crises generated by simple daily actions, such as combing hair.
  • Intense pain that can last days, weeks, months, or more.
  • Pain in the cheeks, jaw, teeth, gums, lips, eyes, or forehead.
  • Pain that attacks only one side of the face.
  • Sharp or stabbing pain that resembles an electric shock.
  • Painful spasms that can last a few seconds or several minutes.
  • Increasingly frequent and intense discomfort with the passing of days.
  • Initial burning as an indicator of a painful episode.

Usually, it is common for pain attacks to be mild and of little intensity at first, but if not treated in time, trigeminal neuralgia can evolve and cause prolonged and frequent episodes of acute pain.

Diagnosis and treatment Trigeminal neuralgia

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and medical history, they will perform a physical and neurological examination, as well as order diagnostic tests, such as electroencephalogram, computed tomography, and MRI to determine the cause.

Currently, there are various treatments to control the discomfort and pain caused by this disease, but the most common is based on the intake of drugs, injections, and surgery. If trigeminal neuralgia is due to a degenerative disease, the direct cause must be addressed. Among the most common medications are:

  • Anticonvulsants. 
  • Antispasmodics. 
  • Injected botox. 

In more severe cases, one of these surgeries may be required:

  • Microvascular decompression.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery of the brain.
  • Rhizotomy.
  • Injected glycerol.
  • Balloon compression.
  • Destruction of nerve fibers with radiofrequency.

At the Neurological Center, a select group of highly trained and certified doctors in the various neurological specialties are ready to assist you with the quality and warmth that characterizes us.



  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Spine surgery
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Neurophysiology
  • Neuro-rehabilitation
  • Neuro-pathology
  • Interventional neuro-radiology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Neuro-otology
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Neuroimaging


  • neurosciences.com
  • mayocilinic.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • msdmanuals.com
  • topdoctors.es
  • medigraphic.com
  • Whizar-Lugo V, Cisneros-Corral R, Hernández-Velasco R. Neuralgia trigeminal. Rev Mex Anest. 2003;26(4):217-225.
  • López-Elizalde R, Reyes-Velasco E, Campero Á, et al. Abordaje asterional mínimamente invasivo para descompresión microvascular en neuralgia del trigémino. Gac Med Mex. 2019;155(Suppl: 1):70-78.
  • Grin EJ, Grin P, Rocha NML. Neuralgia del trigémino: un caso clínico. Rev ADM. 2018;75(3):164-167.
  • Cruz HTM, López PO, Pérez RC, et al. Microdescompresión vascular en la neuralgia esencial del trigémino. Rev Cubana Neurol Neurocir. 2017;7(1):43-49.

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