Rare Symptoms of MS: 12 Things to Know About Facial Pain

Trigeminal neuralgia is a term used for facial pain which begins in the trigeminal nerve. It usually occurs in people over the age of 50 and affects women more than men. However, it is more common in people who have multiple sclerosis (MS).

We’ve put together a list of facts about trigeminal neuralgia with help from familydoctor.org and the MS Trust UK.

Connect with other patients and share tips on how to manage MS in our forums!

  • Over-the-counter pain medications are not effective for trigeminal neuralgia pain.
  • Trigeminal neuralgia is often treated with carbamazepine to begin with. Baclofen may be given to help relax the muscles.
  • If medication doesn’t work, surgery may be required to deliberately injure the trigeminal nerve so that it stops sending pain signals.
  • It’s estimated that between four and six people living with MS will suffer from trigeminal neuralgia. Usually, they’re over the age of 40.
  • There are two trigeminal nerves running down each side of the face. Each trigeminal nerve has three main branches: the upper branch reaches to the scalp and forehead, the middle branch to the nose, cheek and upper jaw and mouth, and the lower branch reaches the lower jaw and mouth.
  • Damage to the myelin sheath protecting the nerve is what causes pain for MS sufferers.
  • Pain may be triggered by everyday activities such as eating, brushing teeth, talking, head movement, breeze, air conditioning, hot or cold food, or may come up spontaneously without any trigger.
  • Pain can last for a few seconds or up to a few minutes. For some, the pain is constant.
  • Some report pain like an electric shock, whereas others report an aching or burning sensation.
  • The pain can range from mild to excruciating.
  • Flares can last for hours, days, or even months.
  • Dental pain or eye pain can sometimes be mistaken for trigeminal neuralgia, so if you experience pain in your mouth or eyes it’s wise to visit your dentist or ophthalmologist.

MORE: Tips for managing cognitive health with multiple sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Average Rating
0 out of 5 stars. 0 votes.
My Rating:

14 comments

  1. Doris Backstrom says:

    Often the sides of my mouth begin to drool. I often wondered if I have had a stroke. Then no symptom for months. Particularly aggravating when I sing.
    My nerve symptoms were painful after a deadening of my tooth. Lasted over a year. I
    Kept massaging the outside of my face where the nerve descends into the tooth.

  2. CeAnne Ryding-Becker says:

    The way that I describe what TN pain feels like is comparing it to having an ice pick repeatedly stabbing me in the jaw area. It will literally bring me to my knees.

  3. Georgene Sanchez says:

    What a horrible SURPRISE to the mouth!!! Believed must have been a CAVITY however there wasn’t any evidence! Honest it was startling to the point of TEAR FLOODING… Soon learned it was “TRIGEMIMENAL Neuralgia. never experienced pain w/28 years of MS this was a very NEW symptom!

      • You have to see your neurologist and he will probably start you on tegretol (carbamazepine) and if this is TN you will feel better really fast! For me, it was like if someone stab me in the face, over and over… And I have to take 3 different medications and it’s been 3 years since and I can’t remove or reduce any of them because it’s still painfull. Courage!

      • ipek yavuz says:

        Reducing sugar and gluten intake radically helps. Might look irrelevant, but a ketogenic diet is good for us in many ways. Also magnesium, zinc, B3 supplements made a difference for me. Good luck in stumbling on the right solutions.

  4. Liz says:

    U have been having the burning feeling on the left side of my face for bout 11 yrs never thought much thought was trapped nerve some times goes to the right half way now I have it all down my left tight

  5. Katie says:

    Just started on tegretol today. Awaiting MRI appointment.
    Thought this burning and numbness was related to intra vitreous injections for macular degeneration on the same side.
    Anyone else experience this?
    Has tegretol helped?

  6. Sherry L says:

    Has anyone experienced a stinging pain on one side only along the jaw? I’ve had MS for almost 22 years and never had this sensation. If I rub my jaw the stinging subsides.

    • Billie Joe says:

      I got the tightness feeling like my teeth were gonna shatter out of my mouth, it started three years ago only to find out my nerves in my teeth are fractured from the MS. It was sudden and last a few minutes, but kept going on and still to this day. I’ve lost three teeth so far as they couldn’t be saved.

  7. Amelia Brunner says:

    I have not been diagnosed with MS. But I have a question for anyone who has been: What were your very first signs and symptoms of MS? For the past week or so, I have been having shooting, burning, stabbing like pain. It first started just in my face. Now, tonight, it is happening all over my entire body. Head to toes. All day today, my left arm has been extremely weak, practically useless. So I’ve just tried not to hardly use it at all. I have also been suffering with severe lower back pain. Very hard just to get around our house. Any responses and personal experiences would be extremely helpful! Thank you!!

    • Teresa Loper says:

      I have MS. My first symptoms were burning on the side of my face,
      . Extreme ear pain and feet burning. Dropping things and bad headache. I had optic neuritis but at the time I didn’t know. After 3 separate visits to the ER I was admitted in to the hospital. The scan showed my optic neuritis but they missed the two lesions on my brain. After 2 years of being admitted off and on to the hospital they sent me to Mayo Clinic where I was finally was diagnosed. All I can say is be your own advocate. I hope you get the answers you are looking for..🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This