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Old July 19th, 2013, 08:33 PM
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Default Trigeminal Neuralgia (public service announcement)

I have mentioned here a few times that I have been ill, but I have not gone into any detail because (1) it is personal, and (2) I figure not many are interested. I changed my mind after a conversation with some friends yesterday, and decided that I may be able to help others avoid some pain and trouble if I share info to improve awareness of this rare condition, Trigeminal Neuralgia.

This will be the short version; if you want more details, I will have that in a blog entry. Trigeminal Neuralgia is a neurological condition, an irritation of the trigeminal nerve. It causes excruciating pain, usually in one side of the face, rarely in both sides. It may be mistaken at first for dental pain, and it is quite common for TN sufferers to first undergo some unnecessary root canals or tooth extractions before getting a correct diagnosis.

Once it is diagnosed, there are medications that can cut the pain level way down, to tolerable levels, and although those medications often have unpleasant side-effects, almost anyone with TN will tell you that it is worth it to reduce the pain.

That is the main point that I wanted to make, that if you or someone you know is suffering facial pain that may seem to be dental in origin, but also hurts in the cheekbone and eyebrow, be sure to discuss with your dentist the possibility of TN (and see a regular doctor if the dentist is not familiar with TN), before undergoing any root canals or tooth extractions that are actually unnecessary and may in fact make the pain worse. Also, the sooner you get a correct diagnosis and start the correct medications, the sooner you will feel better and reduce the pain.

If you want more info, I intend to write a more detailed account of my own experience with TN, or you can check Wikipedia (the articles there on Trigeminal Neuralgia and Atypical TN are pretty accurate based on what I have read elsewhere and have been told by my doctors), or visit the site of the Facial Pain Association.
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Last edited by SpaceBadger; July 19th, 2013 at 10:22 PM.. Reason: better title
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