What is the trigeminal nerve?

As one of the most vital nerves in the head, the trigeminal nerve is responsible for sensation in the face and certain motor functions such as biting and chewing. It is the largest of the cranial nerves and has three major branches that assist with sensory and motor functions including biting, chewing and sensations in the face.

Our center treats a debilitating condition associated with the trigeminal nerve, called trigeminal neuralgia (TN). TN can occur when a blood vessel compresses the trigeminal nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head, and can cause excruciating pain in the face, forehead and jaw. Many times, no cause can be found. As the pain intensifies, patients find themselves unable to predict what may trigger the next episode. Pain can be triggered by something as simple as a light breeze to things like chewing, talking or swallowing. Treatment typically involves powerful painkilling drugs or other antidepressant or anticonvulsive medication.

For more information on TN, click here.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.