Make an appointment with your primary care provider if you have symptoms common to trigeminal neuralgia. After your initial appointment, you may see a doctor trained in the diagnosis and treatment of brain and nervous system conditions (neurologist).
What you can do to prepare
- Write down any symptoms you've been having, and for how long.
- Note any triggers that bring on your attacks of facial pain.
- Make a list of your key medical information, including any other conditions for which you're being treated and the names of any medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions in advance to ask your doctor at your appointment. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
For possible trigeminal neuralgia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my pain?
- Do I need any diagnostic tests?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- If you're recommending medications, what are the possible side effects?
- Will I need treatment for the rest of my life?
- How much do you expect my symptoms will improve with treatment?
- Is surgery an option?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may give you more time to go over points you want to discuss further. Your doctor may ask:
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- What are your symptoms and where are they located?
- When did you first develop these symptoms?
- Have your symptoms gotten worse over time?
- How often do you experience bouts of facial pain, and have you noticed if anything seems to trigger your facial pain?
- How long does an attack of facial pain typically last?
- How much are these symptoms affecting your quality of life?
- Have you ever had dental surgery or surgery on or near your face, such as sinus surgery?
- Have you had any facial trauma, such as an injury or accident that affected your face?
- Have you tried any treatments for your facial pain so far? Has anything helped?
- Longo DL, et al., eds. Trigeminal neuralgia, Bell's palsy, and other cranial nerve disorders. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed May 24, 2015.
- Trigeminal neuralgia fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/trigeminal_neuralgia/detail_trigeminal_neuralgia.htm. Accessed May 25, 2015.
- Bajwa ZH, et al. Trigeminal neuralgia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 24, 2015.
- Riggs EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 17, 2015.