Trigeminal neuralgia (TN, also known as tic douloureaux) is the most common facial pain syndrome with approximately 15,000 new patients diagnosed each year in the United States. TN is characterized by episodic, intense, shock-like pain in one or more divisions of the trigeminal nerve. Typically, women are affected more frequently than men, and the pain generally follows a relapsing and recurring course. It is common for patients to be misdiagnosed for many years after the pain begins. The most common cause of TN is considered idiopathic compression of the trigeminal nerve by a blood vessel as it exits the brainstem, but TN can also occur secondary to tumors or demyelinating disease (multiple sclerosis).

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