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What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Salman Khan in a talent show
 
There are 12 cranial nerves -- these are the nerves that supply sensation to different muscles and functions in the face and head region. The fifth nerve is called the Trigeminal nerve; it carries sensation from the face to the brain. It is divided into three divisions -- it gives sensation to your eyes (including the sensation of your eyeball) to your nose and to your jaw.

All nerves basically have electric current. In some people, these nerves get excited electrically by themselves, producing intense pain. It feels like an electric shock. This pain could either be in the first division around the eye, or the second around the nose, or around the jaw. For one person, it is always one division -- it could be the eye, the nose or the jaw, not all three together.

A person suffering from this condition does not feel pain all the time, but it can come like an electric shock when you eat or drink cold water. It could be triggered by a wind blowing towards the face. Even an action like touching a handkerchief to the face can trigger this intense pain.
The pain is like a shock; it can literally throw you for few seconds and then it goes away.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The pain of trigeminal neuralgia comes from the trigeminal nerve. This nerve carries pain, feeling, and other sensations from the brain to the skin of the face. It can affect part or all of the face, and the surface of the eye.

The condition usually affects older adults, but it may affect anyone at any age. Trigeminal neuralgia may be part of the normal aging process.
Trigeminal neuralgia may be caused by:

    Multiple sclerosis
    Pressure on the trigeminal nerve from a swollen blood vessel or tumor

Often, no specific cause is found.
Doctors are more likely to find a cause if the patient is younger than age 40.
 
Salman Khan with pain in face

Symptoms

    Very painful, sharp electric-like spasms that usually last a few seconds or minutes, but can become constant
    Pain is usually only on one side of the face, often around the eye, cheek, and lower part of the face
    Pain may be triggered by touch or sounds
    Painful attacks of trigeminal neuralgia can be triggered by common, everyday activities, such as:
o    Brushing teeth
o    Chewing
o    Drinking
o    Eating
o    Lightly touching the face
o    Shaving
 
Do you know your favorite Bollywood star Salman Khan has been suffering from this disease for some time now. He is presently undergoing treatment for it.
 
Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and rediff.com

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