Trigeminal neuralgia symptoms may include one or more of these patterns:
- Episodes of severe, shooting or jabbing pain that may feel like an electric shock
- Spontaneous attacks of pain or attacks triggered by things such as touching the face, chewing, speaking and brushing teeth
- Bouts of pain lasting from a few seconds to several minutes
- Episodes of several attacks lasting days, weeks, months or longer — some people have periods when they experience no pain
- Constant aching, burning feeling that's less intense than the spasm-like pain
- Pain in areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve, including the cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, lips, or less often the eye and forehead
- Pain affecting one side of the face at a time, though may rarely affect both sides of the face
- Pain focused in one spot or spread in a wider pattern
- Attacks that become more frequent and intense over time
When to see a doctor
If you experience facial pain, particularly prolonged or recurring pain or pain unrelieved by over-the-counter pain relievers, see your doctor.
July 21, 2015
- 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.