Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a progressive nerve condition that causes intermittent severe pain often described as stabbing, burning, or shock-like, and excruciating. Pain is most often centered around the lower face and jaw, but can also include areas near the eye and nose. Pain can be triggered by common activities including eating, shaving, or light touches of the face.
TN affects about 150,000 Americans. While it can occur at any age, it most frequently affects people in their 50s and 60s. It’s also more common in:
The condition results from inappropriate signals from the trigeminal nerve to the brain. This has several possible causes, but two of the most common are:
Rarely, trigeminal neuralgia can be caused by a non-cancerous tumor growing against the nerve, or by a malformation in the blood vessels.
Learn more about treatment of trigeminal neuralgia with Gamma Knife at Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center.
Learn about other treatments for trigeminal neuralgia.