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How do I Choose the Best Trigeminal Neuropathy Treatment?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Trigeminal neuropathy is a painful condition that causes sharp, shooting pains throughout the face. Choosing the best trigeminal neuropathy treatment methods is often difficult and time consuming, as each person responds differently to different attempts at symptom relief. The patient should work closely with a doctor to determine the best trigeminal neuropathy treatment options for his or her situation. Prescription medications are often used when a patient is first diagnosed with this condition, although more invasive methods of treatment may become necessary. Additional trigeminal neuropathy treatment options include the use of injections or surgical intervention.

Prescription medications are typically the first line of trigeminal neuropathy treatment. The most commonly used medications are anticonvulsants, drugs originally designed to treat seizure disorders. Muscle relaxants may also be prescribed and are frequently used along with the anticonvulsant medications. Prescription pain medications may also be used in some cases. In many cases, prescription medications provide sufficient relief, although they may stop working as time goes on or the condition progresses.

Various types of injections may be used as a form of trigeminal neuropathy treatment, especially if oral medications do not provide sufficient symptom relief. Alcohol injections may provide temporary pain relief for some people with this condition. Nerve block injections may also provide temporary symptom relief. These injections often have to be repeated and may be associated with bothersome side effects such as facial numbness or partial facial paralysis.

Surgical intervention may be a necessary trigeminal neuropathy treatment if other methods of treatment are not successful or if medication side effects are severe. There are several types of surgical procedures used to treat this condition, and the surgeon can help the patient decide which option is best. Some of these surgical procedures include gamma-knife radiosurgery or radiofrequency thermal rhizotomy. Even surgical intervention is not completely guaranteed to provide lasting relief, as these procedures may need to be repeated in the future.

Gamma-knife radiosurgery involves the use of radiation to damage the trigeminal nerve and provide pain relief. This procedure may take several weeks to become effective and may need to be repeated. Radiofrequency thermal rhizotomy uses an electrical current to damage the trigeminal nerve and relieve pain. The patient is sedated as this procedure begins and is awakened to help alert the surgeon when the nerve has been damaged enough to stop the pain. Unfortunately, nearly everyone who undergoes this procedure will experience some degree of temporary or permanent facial numbness as a result of the surgery.

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