Encyclopedia

Painful facial tic

Description

Facial tic pain or trigeminal neuralgia is a severe condition characterized by severe, stabbing pain on one side of the face.

It arises from one or more branches of the nerve providing facial sensitivity – the trigeminal nerve. It is considered the most painful disease that affects humans.

The pain usually lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes. It can be so strong that your face twitches involuntarily, hence the term tic. There is usually no pain or numbness between attacks or facial muscle dysfunction.

Most people feel jaw, cheek or lip pain on only one side of the face. The pain is usually manifested by a light touch to the face or mouth and occurs on the same side as the touch.

The pain is so severe that those affected may be afraid to speak, eat or move during the attacks.

Although it is possible for patients to have persistent painful attacks for weeks or even months, usually no symptoms of the disease appear for months or even years. The pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia is usually managed with medication or surgery.

Painful facial tic is a disease of middle or older age. Women are affected more often than men. Also, people suffering from multiple sclerosis are more often affected than other people.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of trigeminal neuralgia is a sudden, severe, stabbing, sharp, electric shock-like pain on one side of the face. The second and third branches of the trigeminal nerve are most often affected, and therefore the pain is felt in the lower half of the face.

The pain occurs in attacks that last for several minutes, it is possible to develop several attacks a day. The affected person does not feel pain between attacks.

Typically, pain attacks tend to become more frequent and persistent over time.
Attacks are often initiated by physical stimulation of a certain trigger point on the side of the face, on which the pain occurs.

Trigger points can be located anywhere on the face or in the mouth or nose. Those points whose stimulation starts the painful attack are usually not in the same place where the sufferer feels the pain.

Activities that can be immediate causes of pain are talking, eating, brushing teeth or even directing cool air to the face. Sufferers of painful facial tic they do not lose their taste or facial sensitivity.

Treatment of painful facial tic

Treatment begins with the prescription of pain relievers to control the severe pain. Surgical intervention is resorted to, only in the event that drug therapy is not effective or the affected person cannot tolerate its side effects.

Multiple medications are effective for pain relief, the most commonly prescribed being anticonvulsants. These medicines help stop irritation of the trigeminal nerve from the cutting pain.

The most commonly prescribed anticonvulsant is carbamazeline. Other types of drugs of this type that can be used are phenytoin and gabalentin. Smaller doses of these drugs are initially prescribed, but are then increased to control pain that increases over time.

Common side effects from taking anticonvulsants are drowsiness, dizziness, double vision and nausea. Rarely, those affected also develop liver and bone marrow diseases.

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