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How to Treat Trigeminal Neuralgia

What would you do if you suffer with Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN)? Definitely you have to find the right treatment for TN since this disorder extremely interrupts your daily activities even for simple things, such as talking, eating, drinking and yawning.

Trigeminal Neuralgia has made the sufferers live in anxiety of the next attack of this excruciating disease.

TN, also known as tic douloureux affects one the largest nerve in the head, the trigeminal nerve which is responsible for detecting pain, temperature, touch and pressure in areas of your face between the forehead, around the eyes and jaw.

TN sufferers mostly already at their middle age (50 to 70 years old). TN rarely affects people under 40 years of age.

If you are a TN sufferer, you should consult with your doctor to have a proper treatment. Your doctor will ask questions about the signs and symptoms. He/she will also review your medical history.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatments
There are many kinds of treatments for TN, such as drug therapy, rhizolysis, gamma knife radiation treatment (GKR), glycerol rhizotomy and posterior fossa exploration and microvascular decompression of the trigeminal root (MVD).

Most of TN sufferers use both medication and surgical treatments. Around 80 percent of TN patients become pain-free after the medication only.

Here are samples of medicines which are usually used to treat Trigeminal Neuralgia:

  • Baclofen
  • Carbamazephine
  • Clonazepam
  • Gabapentin
  • Phenytoin
  • Valproic acid

From the drugs listed above, carbamazephine is often recommended as the first line of treatment. Carbamazephine reduces the trigeminal nerve´s ability to fire off the nerve impulses which cause facial pain.

The same as other drugs, carbamazephine has side effects. The side effects are as follows:

  • Anorexia (loss of appetite)
  • Ataxia (decreased coordination)
  • Diplopia (double vision)
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Mental confusion
  • Nystagmus (rapid movement of the eyes)

When TN patients do not respond to medication, surgical intervention could be considered.

Here are some examples of surgical treatments for Trigeminal Neuralgia:

  • Glycerol rhizotomy
  • “Gamma knife” radiation
  • Microvascular decompression
  • Peripheral surgery
  • Radiofrequency thermocoagulation
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

It is extremely important for TN patients to receive compete information about the benefits and risks of the surgery prior to making the decision.

Self Treatment
For TN sufferers, hopefully the following tips would be helpful to avoid triggering a TN attack:

  • Chew on the unaffected side
  • Eat and drink at room temperature
  • Eat soft foods
  • Wash over the face with cotton pads of warm water
  • Gargle (rinse) the mouth with water after eating

You should remember to consult with your doctor and other healthcare professionals to get a better knowledge and information about Trigeminal Neuralgia treatments.

This article is not intended to be the only source of information about Trigeminal Neuralgia treatments.

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