Trifacial neuralgia, or TN, is a condition that causes severe pain in the cheek, jaw, and neck areas of the face. The pain can be triggered by a number of factors, including chewing, talking, or even smiling. This condition can be extremely painful and debilitating for those who suffer from it.
Trigeminal neuralgia is caused by compression of one or more branches of the trigeminal nerve that supplies sensation to the face. This compression can occur at any point along this nerve’s course—from its origin at the brainstem to its termination at the mouth—and can result in episodic bursts of intense pain.
The exact cause of trigeminal neuralgia is unknown; however, researchers have identified risk factors that may increase your likelihood of developing this condition. These include:
Age: Trigeminal neuralgia most often occurs in people over 50 years old.
Gender: Men are more likely than women to develop this disorder.
Genetics: There seems to be a genetic component to developing trigeminal neuralgia; individuals with family members who have been diagnosed with this disorder are more likely than those without such relatives