Trigeminal Neuralgia & Facial Nerve Disease

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Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic disease causing intense facial pain, typically on one side of the face. The experts at Houston Methodist work to reduce and remove painful episodes through surgical treatments and medication therapies. 

At Houston Methodist, we take a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. Also known as prosoplasia, tic douloureux or Fothergill's disease, this chronic pain condition affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from the face to the brain.  

Mild stimulation of the face, such as brushing teeth or putting on makeup, may trigger excruciating pain. The pain may start as short, mild attacks, but the condition can progress to longer, more frequent bouts of intense pain. 

We understand the complexities of this condition and spend time with our patients to understand their concerns. Together, we develop comprehensive treatment plans for every patient.

Diagnosing & Treating Neuralgia & Facial Nerve Disease

How is trigeminal neuralgia and facial nerve disease diagnosed?

Our team will ask you to describe your pain symptoms, concentrating on the type of pain, the location and whether an event triggered it. Symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia may include: 


  • Attacks that become more frequent and intense over time 
  • Acute or lasting pain that may feel electric, shooting or jabbing 
  • Spontaneous attacks that may be triggered by touching the face 
  • Pain affecting a single spot or side of your face 
  • Widespread facial pain


Though there is no single test to diagnose trigeminal neuralgia, a neurological exam and/or MRI can help rule out underlying conditions that may be causing symptoms. Some causes of trigeminal neuralgia include: 


  • Contact between a blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve that causes the nerve to malfunction 
  • Degeneration, as a result of aging 
  • Multiple sclerosis or a similar disorder  
  • Tumor compressing the trigeminal nerve


Trigeminal neuralgia typically affects women more often than men and people who are older than 50.

Based on your symptoms, we will create a treatment plan to address the root cause of your symptoms and offer you more pain-free days. 

What treatments are available?

Treatment for primary trigeminal neuralgia depends on the severity of your symptoms and may include medications, injections or surgery. If your symptoms are due to another condition, such as multiple sclerosis, treatment will focus on that disease to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

What if I need advanced care or a second opinion?

Accurate diagnosis is key in managing trigeminal neuralgia. Houston Methodist specialists will pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and build a personalized treatment plan to restore your quality of life and relieve your symptoms. 

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