Neuropathic facial pain is a condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which runs from your brain to your mouth. It causes symptoms like a constant burning or stinging sensation in the face, frequent headaches, and facial muscle spasms.
The trigeminal nerve is divided into three branches: the ophthalmic branch, which supplies sensation to your eye; the maxillary branch, which supplies sensation to your upper jaw and teeth; and the mandibular branch, which supplies sensation to your lower jaw and teeth. When one of these branches is compressed or pinched by an abnormality in its path through the skull or from trauma to the face, it can cause neuropathic pain.
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) refers specifically to pain that occurs in one of these branches due to compression of the nerve by an artery (usually at its point of entry into the skull). TN can be caused by several different things (such as tumors), but it often occurs spontaneously without any clear cause. It’s estimated that around one percent of people over 60 years old experience TN at some point in their lives.