Radiation Oncology Center in Pasadena, CA
At Pasadena CyberKnife, our mission is simple: empower patients to beat cancer through comprehensive support and world-class cancer treatments. As a leading cancer center serving the greater Los Angeles area, we offer some of the most advanced cancer-fighting technologies in the world, and our expert treatment team works with patients to create treatment plans that fit into patient lifestyles. We’re proud to treat almost any form of cancer, and we can even use radiation therapy techniques like CyberKnife to treat certain noncancerous conditions like trigeminal neuralgia (TN).
What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition in which inflammation or pressure on the fifth cranial nerve – also called the trigeminal nerve – causes facial pain. The trigeminal nerve is the largest cranial nerve, connecting several sections of the face directly to the brain. The trigeminal nerve has three main branches and helps to control the eyes, the forehead, the cheeks, the jaw, and the lips, which means it spreads through most of the face.
Trigeminal neuralgia occurs when inflammation or another irritant interferes with the trigeminal nerve, causing severe facial pain. In some cases, TN may be caused by a blood vessel or tumor compressing the nerve, while in other cases the cause may not be known. Unfortunately, TN is one of the most severe chronic pain conditions known to modern medicine: attacks of TN are debilitatingly painful, often rendering the patient incapable of responding or speaking due to the intensity of the pain.
Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia
TN pain is often described as similar to an electric shock or a severe burning sensation. Episodes of TN may occur as long, continuous sessions of dull pain, or as severe, intermittent attacks of sharp, acute pain. In some patients, both can occur at the same time. Intermittent pain attacks may be as brief as a fraction of a second or as long as two minutes. They may recur every few hours or as quickly as every few seconds, and episodes can last for two hours or more.
For an outside observer, it may be difficult to recognize an attack of TN. Sufferers may cry out in pain, or they may remain completely silent and stop still, as the pain may be paralytically severe.
Contact Your Los Angeles Radiation Therapy Center
In some cases, TN may be very difficult to treat because the cause isn’t clear – but in others, it may be possible to treat TN through cutting-edge treatments such as CyberKnife. Particularly for patients where TN is caused by a tumor or blood vessel compressing the trigeminal nerve, we may be able to use radiation therapy to eliminate the tumor or shrink the blood vessel, preventing the nerve compression and treating the condition. If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, don’t wait: contact us today for a consultation. We’ll help you understand the cause of your TN and chart a course towards recovery.