How minor nerves involve themselves in pain is on occasion confusing. Here's a convenient way to think of the two elemental patterns:
#1: The nerve is the messenger. If you have a dental abscess, a facial sunburn or a sinus infection, you can count on pain being present. Where does it come from? Special nerve endings ascertain the tissue-injury and create electrical impulses. The minor nerves channel these impulses into the brain. The minor nerves didn't CAUSE the pain, they're just carrying the bad news. (Don't torpedo the messenger!)
#2: The nerve itself is the mischief-maker. In some cases the nerve generates bizarre impulses on its own. The nerve is still efficient of carrying customary impulses, like those informing the brain that the dermis of the face is heated or cold—or that you graze yourself shaving—but generates signals of its own as well that the brain can only construe as painful.
When minor nerves create bolts of pain in the forehead, eye, cheek or jaw, it's called trigeminal neuralgia. This professional appellation can be collapsed into its parts, starting at the extremity and working forward. "Algia" means pain. A "neur-algia" means nerve-pain. Finally, "trigeminal" is the name of the nerve involved. So "trigeminal neuralgia" means pain acquired by the trigeminal nerve. We have two trigeminal nerves, one for each ancillary of the face. They are amid the biggest nerves in our heads.
An earlier appellation for trigeminal neuralgia was "tic douloureux." This bears explaining. A "tic" is a sudden, abrupt movement. "Douloureux" is the French word for "painful." So a "tic douloureux" means that a sudden, abrupt act and a pain arise together. However, this terminology was abundantly cast aside because it implies that act is an cardinal feature. It isn't. When act is present, it's just as a backlash to the pain.
So what are the conventional lineaments of trigeminal neuralgia? First of all, it approximately always occurs on just one ancillary of the face. If one of our trigeminal nerves gets involved in this adverse condition, it's rare in truth that the second trigeminal nerve would be so cursed to get involved, too. Or one more way of looking at it is this: if the pain switches sides or crosses the midline, then it's most likely not trigeminal neuralgia.
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