What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia?

The trigeminal nerve is located at the base of the brain and carries sensation from your face to your brain. Trigeminal neuralgia is a type of chronic nerve pain that comes from the trigeminal nerve. The condition affects the face—usually one side of the jaw or cheek—making it difficult for you to enjoy daily activities.

A flare-up of trigeminal neuralgia may occur for weeks or months and then disappear for a while, sometimes years. Although flare-ups can be mild, the condition can progress, causing the attacks to be longer, more frequent and more painful.

Common triggers include:

  • Pressure from shaving
  • Applying makeup
  • Brushing teeth
  • Standing in the wind
  • Eating, drinking or talking

Although trigeminal neuralgia is not life-threatening, it can interfere with daily activities.