Monday, 2 December 2013

Trigeminal neuralgia - Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

Trigeminal neuralgia is defined as a condition of episodes of intense facial pain as a result of the affect of trigeminal nerve, containing 3 branches. The first (upper) branch includes the eye, eyebrow, and forehead. The second (middle) branch corresponds to the upper lip, upper teeth, upper gum, cheek, lower eyelid, and side of the nose. The third (lower) branch involves the lower lip, lower teeth, lower gum, and one side of the tongue. It also includes a narrow area that extends from the lower jaw in front of the ear to the side of the head(1). The pain is nearly always unilateral, and it may occur repeatedly throughout the day(2).

I. Signs and symptoms
The abrupt onset of short pains in the face or in a part of the face, including
1. Stabbing
2. Lightning
3. Electric shocks(3).
4. Autonomic symptoms can occur in association with the facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia (TN).the most common autonomic symptoms were conjunctival injection, ptosis, and excessive tearing (4).

5. In the study to evaluate a total of 30 patients with TN and chronic facial pain (group A, 25 women and 5 men; mean age, 64.2±3.2 years) and 30 with atypical facial pain (group B, 26 women and 4 men; mean age, 64.8±1.9 years, researchers at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, showed that patients with TN and chronic facial pain had a significantly higher level of pain perception, and they presented the higher level for anxiety and depression than those with atypical facial pain(5).

6. Etc.

II. Causes and Risk factors
A. Causes
1. Neurovascular compression (NC)
Neurovascular compression (NC) seems to have been confirmed as the major cause of classical trigeminal neuralgia (TN)(6).

2. Tumor in the brain 
There are a reprot of three cases of contralateral trigeminal neuralgia as a false localizing sign in intracranial tumors. In all cases, tumors were large and firm. The tumor was supratentorial in two cases. In one case, a cortically mediated mechanism may have caused the neuralgia, whereas in the remaining two cases distortion and displacement of the brain stem and compression of the contralateral Meckel's cave would explain the trigeminal nerve signs(7).

3. Multiple sclerosis 
Multiple Sclerosis is an inflammation of central nervous system disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are deteriorated, leading to impair of proper conduction of nerve impulse. In a multicentre controlled study of 130 patients with MS: 50 patients with TN, 30 patients with trigeminal sensory disturbances other than TN (ongoing pain, dysaesthesia, or hypoesthesia), and 50 control patients, found that the most likely cause of MS-related TN is a pontine plaque damaging the primary afferents. Nevertheless, in some patients a neurovascular contact may act as a concurring mechanism. The other sensory disturbances, including ongoing pain and dysaesthesia, may arise from damage to the second-order neurons in the spinal trigeminal complex(8).

4. Shingles
Shingles also known as herpes zoster or zona is defined as a viral disease with condition of a painful, blistering skin rash on one side of the body of  that can continue to be painful even after the rash have long disappeared(1), as a result of varicella-zoster viral causes of a nerve and skin inflammation. There is a report of a case of reactivation of herpes zoster along the trigeminal nerve with intractable pain after facial trauma(9).

5. Etc.

B. Risk factors
1. Age
If you are 50 or older, you are at increased risk to develop Trigeminal neuralgia.

2. Sex
If you are female, your risk of develop TN are increased.

3. Familial risks 
In the study of familial risks for siblings who were hospitalised for nerve, nerve root and plexus disorders in Sweden, showed that 29,686 patients, 43% men and 57% women, were diagnosed at a mean age of 37.5 years. 191 siblings were hospitalised for these disorders, giving an overall SIR of 2.59 (95% CI 1.58 to 4.22), with no sex difference(10).

3. Certain conditions
a. Hypertension
Increased risk of trigeminal neuralgia after hypertension. In the hypertension group, 121 patients developed TN during follow-up, while, in the nonhypertension group, 167 subjects developed TN. The crude hazard ratio for the hypertension group was 1.52 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.20-1.92; p = 0.0005), while, after adjustment for demographic characteristics and medical comorbidities, the adjusted hazard ratio was 1.51 (95% CI 1.19-1.90; p = 0.0006)(11).

b. Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis are associated with the increased risk of Trigeminal neuralgia.

c. Etc.  

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