Neuralgias are syndromes characterized by intermittent attacks of sharp and paroxysmal pain along the course of a nerve. The neuralgias involving the face are often misdiagnosed and seen initially by the dentist or otolaryngologist. Therefore treatment is often delayed and patients may unnecessarily suffer from neuropathic pain until someone correctly recognizes the signs and refers the patient to a neurologist. The authors describe some of the atypical and lesser-known neuralgias of the face. Neuropathic pain originating in the back of the head along the distribution of the occipital nerves is called occipital neuralgia see Figure 1.
Atypical trigeminal neuralgia
Atypical Facial Neuralgias
Facial Pain Syndromes
Trigeminal neuralgia say: try-GEM-uh-nuhl noo-RAHL-juh is a very specific kind of facial pain that involves the trigeminal nerve or fifth cranial nerve. It is fairly rare, with only four or five people in , affected. Sometimes, facial pain occurs outside the distribution of the trigeminal nerve. It can be the same quality of pain, and seems to involve a dysfunction in a set of nerves, but does not fit the pattern of trigeminal neuralgia.
Trigeminal neuralgia and atypical facial pain are common conditions of facial pain. Although these two pain conditions are classically well separated in textbooks, a straightforward diagnosis may not always be possible because of the overlapping clinical signs and symptoms. In this article, a comparison and differentiation between the clinical and diagnostic features of these two pain conditions are presented.