The excruciating facial pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia often is debilitating. The cause of this pain is an irritated or damaged trigeminal nerve, which supplies your face with its nerve centers.
Most people who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia require nothing more than medication. However, if the medication isn’t effective, your doctor can perform a trigeminal nerve block. This treatment dampens the trigeminal nerve and its branches, reducing or eliminating your facial pain and headaches. This treatment is effective for getting you back to your normal life.
Preparation for a Trigeminal Nerve Block
A Trigeminal Nerve Block usually takes only about 10 minutes to perform. The most difficult part of the procedure is locating the trigeminal nerve.
Your doctor numbs the skin where he will make the injection. He uses lidocaine, similar to novocaine. Your doctor uses a fluoroscope, which provides live X-ray images, to guide the needle to the trigeminal nerve. Once he has the needle in position, he injects the medication.
Following the injection, you’ll be monitored for 15 to 20 minutes before being discharged to go home. You may need to arrange for a ride home. On the day of your treatment, you have to rest. The day after your injection, you usually can resume your normal activities.
For more information about nerve blocks and epidurals, refer to the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) Block Suite.
Some patients have had better results for reducing the pain from trigeminal neuralgia with Radiofrequency Therapy.
For information about the safety of the treatments at SSI, refer to the Spinal Injections Safety report.