Severe Facial Pain from Trigeminal Neuralgia in Multiple Sclerosis

How Common Is Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia is fairly rare, with only 4 percent of people with MS experiencing this kind of pain. However, people with MS are 400 times more likely than the general population to have an episode of trigeminal neuralgia. Also, it’s interesting to note that trigeminal neuralgia tends to be one of the first symptoms of multiple sclerosis for those who experience it—although, this is not a hard and fast rule.

What Causes Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia is caused by lesions of the trigeminal nerve, which is also called the fifth cranial nerve. (The 12 cranial nerves emerge directly from the brain instead of from the spinal cord.) The trigeminal nerve controls the muscles needed for chewing and is responsible for most facial sensation.

How Severe Can Trigeminal Neuralgia Get?

Trigeminal neuralgia can get so severe and distressing that it may require hospitalization and painkillers given through your vein (intravenous).

It can also interfere with a person’s intake of fluids and require that they also be supplemented intravenously. Some people may require surgery for their trigeminal neuralgia, however, this is rare.

Due to the intensity of this disorder, anxiety, and fear about the possibility of it recurring can cause significant suffering and interfere with daily life.
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