I never seem to realize what’s happening until late in the day.
I woke up yesterday and felt a twinge in my jaw and thought: My teeth on the right side hurt. What did I eat yesterday that could have caused this?
And then I decided: Well, I’ll just eat softer foods today.
I got up and went out to the patio to survey the plants and a cool breeze swept across my face. Electrical impulses seemed to fire on the right side and I thought: Did I walk into something during the night and bruise my face?
Out of nowhere I felt tingling electrical sensations in my head and face throughout the day.
Then finally I realized what it was: Trigeminal Neuralgia.
I injured the right side of my face when a heavy box was accidentally dropped on it over 20 years ago. That’s when this all began and I finally had a full neurological work up to find out what was going on.
This happened last when I had the cyst removed from the inside of my mouth around 6 months ago. I felt the same pain afterward. So I called my primary doctor and she told me to start taking Gabapentin.
I felt pain when I tried to sleep on my right side last night. It felt like my face had been bruised and the pain was constant though not debilitating. So I just slept on my left side.
In trigeminal neuralgia, also called tic douloureux (which means “painful tic”), the trigeminal nerve’s function is disrupted.
Usually, the problem is contact between a normal blood vessel — in this case, an artery or a vein — and the trigeminal nerve at the base of your brain.
This contact puts pressure on the nerve and causes it to malfunction.
Trigeminal neuralgia is more common among women than men, and it is more likely to occur in people over 50. I was around 40 when my face was injured.
Below are some photos I found online:
Today the pain is mild. The right side of my face and head feels slightly bruised. So I am going to take it easy.
Taking Gabapentin sometimes causes confusion, especially in older adults, so I don’t plan to drive anywhere.
Painful episodes can be triggered by anything touching the face or teeth, including shaving, applying makeup, brushing teeth, eating, drinking or talking — or even a light breeze.
I have episodes of trigeminal neuralgia several times per year. So I keep Neurontin/Gabapentin on hand.
Have you ever experienced trigeminal neuralgia or do you know someone who has? I’d be interested to know how it affects others.
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