Trigeminal Neuralgia – FAQ

Radiation Therapy Center in Phoenix, AZ


Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is one of the most intense chronic pain conditions known to modern medicine – and if you’re suffering, we can provide hope for treatment. As a leading provider of radiation therapy in the Phoenix area, we can treat almost any cancerous condition and some noncancerous conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia. To help you understand more about your condition and treatment options, we’ve pulled together a few of the most common questions about TN alongside their answers.


Common Questions About Trigeminal Neuralgia


What is trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a chronic pain condition affecting the fifth cranial nerve, also called the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve provides sensation to parts of the face, cheeks, forehead, and eyes, and TN causes severe pain in these locations. Unfortunately, TN is also extremely severe – in fact, it’s said to be the most severely painful condition humans can experience.

What are the symptoms of TN?

There are two types of trigeminal neuralgia: typical TN and atypical TN.

Typical TN causes attacks of sharp, burning pain, often described as feeling like an electric shock. These attacks can last anywhere from a few seconds to two minutes and may come in successive waves for a period of hours. Atypical TN presents as a dull, aching, constant pain. It’s possible for patients to suffer from both typical and atypical TN, sometimes experiencing attacks from both at the same time.

What causes TN?

TN may have a number of causes. The most common causes include:

  • Degenerative nerve conditions such as multiple sclerosis
  • An abnormal blood vessel placing pressure on the trigeminal nerve
  • A tumor or lesion that damages the myelin sheath (protective covering) of the trigeminal nerve
  • In some cases, the cause of TN may not be known

Does TN ever go away by itself?

Generally, no. It’s common for TN pain to come and go in cycles, but TN generally gets worse over time without treatment.

How is TN treated?

Treatment options for TN vary depending on what’s causing the condition. In some cases, the only option is to manage the attacks with medication. Other treatments involve deliberately damaging the TN nerve to block pain signals from reaching the brain. If a blood vessel is compressing the trigeminal nerve, it may be possible to lift the blood vessel and place padding between it and the nerve in a surgical procedure. In some cases where a blood vessel or tumor is causing the pain, we may be able to use a radiation therapy treatment to alleviate TN.


Schedule a Consultation with Your Phoenix, AZ Radiation Therapy Experts


Trigeminal neuralgia can be extremely debilitating – but we may be able to provide hope for treatment. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, don’t wait: schedule a consultation with us today. We’ll work with you to help you understand the cause of your TN, outline your treatment options, and help you get the relief you so badly need and deserve.

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