We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is a rare disorder in which pressure on the glossopharyngeal nerve causes extreme pain around the mouth, throat, ear, tonsils, or tongue. The duration of the sharp pain can vary, and patients may experience recurrent pains or only one bout of pain, depending on the cause for the condition. There are a number of potential treatments for glossopharyngeal neuralgia which can be discussed with a neurologist.

This condition is most commonly seen in men, usually over the age of 40. It can be caused by a growth near the glossopharyngeal nerve, also known as the ninth cranial nerve, or by an abnormally positioned artery which puts pressure on the nerve. This nerve, which is responsible for innervating the throat and mouth, becomes confused as a result of the pressure and sends pain signals to the brain even though nothing is actually happening. The pain can be so severe that the patient is totally incapacitated, and in some cases patients develop seizures or go into cardiac arrest.

As with other facial neuralgias, glossopharyngeal neuralgia can be diagnosed with the assistance of medical imaging studies which will visualize the area of interest, looking for abnormalities. A growth will show up on an MRI or CT scan, while vascular abnormalities can be revealed with an arteriogram. In some cases, the cause may not be immediately obvious, with nothing appearing to interfere with the function of the ninth cranial nerve.

Patients with glossopharyngeal neuralgia are usually given pain management medications to reduce the pain when their confused glossopharyngeal nerves fire. Anticonvulsant medications also appear to be effective in the treatment of this condition, and using such medications will reduce the risk of developing seizures. In severe cases, it may be necessary to perform surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerve, with the surgeon classically entering the skull behind the ear to expose the nerve and remove the source of pressure.

The prognosis for a patient with a glossopharyngeal neuralgia diagnosis can be very good. If the doctor can find the cause of the neuralgia and address it, the patient will make a complete recovery. In the event that the cause is more challenging to identify, medications can be used to manage the condition, keeping the patient comfortable and reducing the number and severity of painful episodes. Even if patients only experience mild pain, it is important to consult a neurologist because glossopharyngeal neuralgia can be a symptom of a serious neurological problem.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.