Trigeminal Neuralgia

Comprehensive Headache Center & Multiple Sclerosis Specialists located in Spokane Valley, WA

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia services offered in Spokane Valley, WA

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a pain condition that causes intense, electric shock-like pain in the lower part of the face. For those with TN, the pain is debilitating. Yashma Patel, MD, and Wade Steeves, MD, specialize in diagnosing and treating TN at Valley Neurology in Spokane, Washington. To get help for your severe head pain, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Q&A

What is trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a chronic pain condition that involves the trigeminal nerve, also called the 5th cranial nerve. The trigeminal nerve provides sensation to your face, including the eyes, cheeks, nose, lips, and jaw. 


Irritation of the nerve causes TN. There are two types:

Primary TN

Primary TN occurs when there’s compression of the nerve at the base of the skull, usually from an artery or vein. 

Secondary TN

Secondary TN causes the pain condition when there’s compression or irritation of the nerve from another cause, such as a tumor, cyst, or head injury. Multiple sclerosis (MS) may also cause secondary TN. 

What are the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia?

Symptoms of TN vary and may depend on type and cause. Pain ranges from sudden and severe to constant aching and burning.


People with TN may also have intense flashes of pain when brushing their teeth or touching their faces. The pain may affect only one part of the face or radiate out. 


With TN, people tend to experience periods of pain followed by periods of remission. However, the pain condition worsens over time.


If you have severe pain in the face, schedule a consultation at Valley Neurology for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

What can I expect during an evaluation for trigeminal neuralgia?

You can expect a patient-centered and thorough evaluation when you visit Valley Neurology with complaints of severe facial pain. The neurologists are the leading experts in diagnosing and treating all types of headaches.


Your provider reviews your symptoms and medical history. They also ask about any injuries or procedures that occurred before the onset of your pain. They perform a physical and neurological exam and may request imaging tests such as an MRI to determine the cause of your pain.

What are the treatments for trigeminal neuralgia?

Treatment for TN may include medications or surgery.


Antiseizure medications are the primary treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. Tricyclic antidepressants are also sometimes used.


When medications fail to ease your TN pain, your neurologist at Valley Neurology may talk to you about surgical interventions to relieve the pain, such as a rhizotomy to stop nerve pain signals or balloon decompression.


Trigeminal neuralgia causes debilitating pain, but treatment can help. Call Valley Neurology or schedule an appointment online today.