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How Does Trigeminal Neuralgia Affect The Body & Can Trigeminal Neuralgia Pain Last For Hours?

Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that involves the trigeminal nerve, which is one of the twelve cranial nerves in the body that transmit signals between the brain and the body. The trigeminal nerve is the 5th intracranial nerve and its functionality is facial sensation and chewing. The nerve further branches into three sectors namely the ophthalmic branch, which is responsible for sensation in the scalp, forehead, upper eyelid, and the tip of the nose. The second branch is the maxillary branch, and it is responsible for sensation in the lower eyelid, side of the nose, upper lip and cheek, as well as the upper teeth and gums. Finally, there is the mandibular branch which provides sensation in the lower teeth and gums, lower lip, jaw, chin, and part of the ear. It is also associated with the muscles involved in chewing.[1]

How Does Trigeminal Neuralgia Affect The Body?

Trigeminal neuralgia is basically a chronic pain condition of the aforementioned 5th intracranial nerve. In this condition, pain in the face is the major symptom, and it is easily triggered by any mild stimulation on the involved areas. Some of the triggers of neuralgia pain include; brushing of teeth, putting on makeup, shaving, slight touch, and even a blow from the wind. Trigeminal neuralgia pain attacks are usually intense and the pain can be debilitating to the point of interfering with one’s life. The attacks are usually brief in some occasions, and in others, the pain may last for as long as two minutes. In extreme cases, the pain comes in waves that last for a few seconds or several minutes, and the pain can keep recurring for hours.

In the early periods of trigeminal neuralgia, the pain attacks are usually less mild and infrequent. However, the condition is progressive, and as time passes by, the symptoms worsen. In other words, the pain attacks are more painful and last for a longer time. Since the trigeminal neuralgia pain is like a stabbing or electric-like shock, many individuals try as much as possible to avoid anything that might trigger the onset of the pain. Some of the things that people avoid when they have trigeminal neuralgia include; talking, eating, drinking – especially cold drinks – brushing, shaving, and even kissing. Most trigeminal neuralgia cases are unilateral since only one side of the face is affected.

Although pain episodes can last for days or even weeks, when one goes into remission, it may be weeks, months or years before the pain returns.[2] [3] [4]

Can Trigeminal Neuralgia Pain Last For Hours?

Trigeminal neuralgia pain occurs in waves, with the pain being electric shock-like on one side of the face, often the right side. The waves of pain can be very few, occurring once or twice in a day in some patients, whereas others experience several of them within an hour. In most cases, the pain starts and stops unexpectedly, but in other cases, it is triggered by various things.

The pain can be localized in that a patient can pinpoint the area where the pain is emanating from. Otherwise, the pain is spread out, being felt in a wider area of the face. It commonly runs along the border of the mandibular and maxillary nerves, or the maxillary and ophthalmic nerves. Trigeminal neuralgia pain often starts as a sensation of electrical shocks and intensifies in about 20 seconds into unbearable discomfort deep in the face. It may seem to be fading away, but within a few seconds or minutes, the pain is back and has a burning effect. The pain will fully go away in a few minutes, and regardless of how often you have the pain attacks, there will be periods of pain relief between the attacks.[5]


Trigeminal neuralgia will in one way or the other affect your body, due to the debilitating pain one feels during a pain episode. There is no physical damage, only pain around your facial region where the trigeminal nerve runs along. Whenever you feel the pain, you may wince or grimace, and your facial expression will clearly tell there is a problem. The bouts of pain can last for only a few seconds up to several minutes. Depending on the frequency of occurrence, you may only have one attack in an hour, and in progressed cases, the attacks may be several.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 30, 2019

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