What flares up trigeminal neuralgia?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as tic douloureux, is a condition characterized by severe facial pain that is often triggered by certain activities or stimuli. While the specific triggers may vary from person to person, there are some common factors that can flare up trigeminal neuralgia.

1. Hot, cold, spicy, or sour foods and beverages: Many individuals with trigeminal neuralgia find that consuming hot or cold foods and drinks, as well as those with strong flavors like spicy or sour, can trigger acute attacks. The sensitivity of the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for transmitting sensation from the face to the brain, can be heightened in people with this condition, leading to pain when exposed to extreme temperatures or intense flavors.

2. Brushing your teeth: Something as simple as brushing your teeth can become a source of discomfort for individuals with trigeminal neuralgia. The repetitive motion and pressure applied to the face while brushing can irritate the trigeminal nerve, leading to pain or triggering an acute attack.

3. Gentle touch: Even a gentle touch, such as a breeze on the face or washing the affected area, can provoke pain in people with trigeminal neuralgia. The hypersensitivity of the trigeminal nerve can make even the lightest contact feel painful and exacerbate the symptoms.

4. Talking or chewing: Activities that involve the movement of the facial muscles, such as talking or chewing, can also trigger flare-ups. The repetitive motion and pressure placed on the affected area can irritate the trigeminal nerve and lead to increased pain.

5. Stress and anxiety: Emotional stress and anxiety can also contribute to the flare-up of trigeminal neuralgia. The exact relationship between stress and trigeminal neuralgia is not fully understood, but many patients report an increase in pain during periods of high stress or anxiety.

It’s important to note that triggers can vary greatly among individuals, and what may cause a flare-up for one person may not affect another. It is crucial for individuals with trigeminal neuralgia to identify their specific triggers through self-monitoring and consultation with a healthcare professional. By avoiding or minimizing exposure to triggers, patients may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of their symptoms.