Rare nerve disorder causes severe facial pain

“Women who have had children and men who have passed kidney stones and subsequently developed trigeminal neuralgia say there is no comparison.”

Trigeminal neuralgia has been traced to multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the myelin sheath, causing nerves to short-circuit. This leads many MS patients to complain of a tingling sensation in parts of their body. And about two per cent of MS patients end up with trigeminal neuralgia.

Another more common cause of the trigeminal nerve losing its myelin is a structural malformation. People can be born with blood vessels too close to the nerve, and over the years the blood vessel rubs off the myelin. The blood vessel can then press sharply against the naked, uninsulated nerve, causing the bolt of pain.

About 10 people in 100,000 have blood vessels lying too close to their trigeminal nerve.

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