Make an appointment with your family doctor or 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 the triggers, such as 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 is the most likely cause of my pain?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- Do I need any diagnostic tests?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- If you're recommending medications, what are the possible side effects?
- Am I a candidate for surgery? Why or why not?
- Will I need treatment for the rest of my life?
- How much do you expect my symptoms will improve with treatment?
- Should I see a specialist?
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:
Aug. 10, 2012
- What are your symptoms?
- Where are your symptoms located?
- Are both sides of your face affected?
- When did you first develop these symptoms?
- Have your symptoms gotten worse over time?
- How often do you experience bouts of facial pain?
- What 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?
- Do you have any other signs or symptoms in addition to facial pain?
- 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?
- Are you currently being treated or have you recently been treated for any other medical conditions?
- What medications are you currently taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs as well as vitamins and supplements?
- Have you tried any treatments for your facial pain so far? Has anything helped?
- NINDS trigeminal neuralgia page. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/trigeminal_neuralgia/trigeminal_neuralgia.htm. Accessed April 13, 2012.
- Bajwa ZH, et al. Trigeminal neuralgia. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed April 16, 2012.
- Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1678/0.html Accessed May 16, 2012.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Mosby; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/183930156-4/0/2088/674.html#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05609-0..00029-0--sc0175_13740. Accessed May 16, 2012.
- Gronseth G, et al. Practice parameters: The diagnostic evaluation and treatment of trigeminal neuralgia (an evidence-based review): Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the European Federation of Neurological Societies. Neurology. 2008;71:1183.
- Krafft RM. Trigeminal neuralgia. American Family Physician. 2008;77:1291.
- PainAid. American Pain Foundation. http://painaid.painfoundation.org/. Accessed May 31, 2012.