Trigeminal Neuralgia Attack

Lightning ripping across my face. The red-hot burn, sizzling in my jaw. The tic that’s tacking it’s way from inside my ear to the corner of my eye…

This description fails to capture how severe trigeminal neuralgia pain can be.

Trigeminal Neuralgia “is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal or 5th cranial nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head.  The disorder causes extreme, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like face pain that lasts anywhere from a few seconds to as long as 2 minutes per episode.  These attacks can occur in quick succession. The intensity of pain can be physically and mentally incapacitating.” (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

I have been living with this condition for years now. It’s been had been 7 months since my last attack. Then yesterday morning, while I was heading into the breezy spring weather, the familiar shock of anguish rippled from my ear to my jaw. Rapid, and I held my breath, yet it returned. Repeatedly, the waves of gripping sharpness coursed through the right side of my face.

I’m on day 2 of this attack. I have no guarantee how long it will last, or when it will reduce in severity. I wish I knew. My diet is consisting of soft, mushy foods so I don’t have to chew. And my talking is being reserved by vital and urgent replies. Those who are familiar with my usual chatty self find it both troubling and relaxing not to have me yapping.

My Baclofen was increased. This pains me because it took nearly a year to convince the Neurologist to decrease my dose. I put in so much time and effort only to feel like a failure. The trigeminal neuralgia wasn’t really gone, it was just hiding, waiting to jump out and bite my bum when I least expect it. 😦

The worst thing about this disorder is the unknown. I never know when I’m going to get a flare up. I never know how bad it will be or how long it will last. And being that way, it seems to have the upper hand. And I hate this! I hate living in fear during and right after an attack.

Or losing sleep…

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7 responses to “Trigeminal Neuralgia Attack

  1. Endochick,

    I’m so, so sorry for your pain and frustration!! I know what you went through when you adjusted the medication last time. I’m glad your Hubby is keeping you stocked with food/drinks you can tolerate and I hope you return to your chatty self ASAP… no matter what anyone else says! 🙂

    Jeanne

    • Thanks, Jeanne. So glad I can rely on you for late night chats on-line when the pain is so intense sleeping isn’t an option.

  2. Endochick,

    I hope you are feeling much better! It’s hard to believe this was a month ago. This past month has been a “lost month” for me on so many levels.

    Jeanne

    P.S. You are NOT a failure because you had to raise the Baclofen dose.

    • Thanks Jeanne. You are such a supportive friend to have in ones chronic illness arsenal. 🙂 If we have a war to fight for recognition and equality, you are my right hand gal.

      I know – a month! I still cringe when the wind picks up. Will it trigger an attack? So far *crosses fingers* the increase in Baclofen has helped.

  3. Mine started in 1979. I know the fear only too well. I am glad the baclofen is helping even if you did have to increase your dosage. I hope you can go back down on it and that the April attack was the last one you had.
    ( I wrote a book on my experience, A PAINED LIFE, a chronic pain journey. (http://www2.xlibris.com/bookstore/bookdisplay.aspx?bookid=18435 )
    (I have started a blog also http://apainedlife.blogspot.com/ more on the general life, experiences of someone with chronic pain – as a fellow suffer er you may also want to check out our support site http://www.womeninpainawareness.ning.com – wonderful place for support and discussion.

  4. Helen Edwards

    Yesterday I was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, so when it woke me tonight I went online and found your site among others. As I had severe endometriosis many years ago and Jeanne goes by “endochick” I’m wondering if anyone has found a connection between the two? After 3 decades of suffering with endo, I was lucky enough to find Dr. David Redwine at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, who honestly did cure the problem. Amazing! I’ve started a medication for the trigeminal (do you have a quick short word for this?), but am seeing my acupuncturist tomorrow and may stop the drug if he has other options. My surfing indicates acupuncture is most effective when started early, so I’m hopeful to stay away from meds as I also have moderately severe multiple chemical sensitivities and don’t even take aspirin or supplements. I’m very sorry for your years of pain. I know from personal and family experience how completely it can affect a life. Look forward to your input.
    Helen

  5. I would be surprised if any relationship (I am not a medical person) because the trigeminal nerve is a cranial completely separate from anything below the neck. (It is also called TN or ‘tic’ for tic dououreux).
    Good lu8ck with the avupuncture. I hope it helps but also remember there are many, many new meds out there that can help with tn if the first one isnt the one for you.

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