Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It’s characterized by inflammation in your brain and spinal cord, which can cause problems with your vision, movement, balance, sensation, thinking skills, and emotions.
The pain caused by MS is called neuropathic pain—it’s different from the kind of pain you’d feel if you stubbed your toe or burned yourself on a hot stove. Neuropathic pain is often described as burning or stabbing and can be triggered by things like heat or cold and touch.
Trigeminal neuralgia is one type of neuropathic pain that causes people to experience sudden episodes of intense facial pain. The trigeminal nerve is one of 12 cranial nerves that control our senses: taste, touch sensitivity, facial sensation (what we feel on our skin), and mouth function. People with trigeminal neuralgia experience intense facial pain because certain areas of their trigeminal nerve become damaged or inflamed.