December 2, 2021

On Corriere Salute: the pain of the triplet, a “stab” that leaves you breathless


Thus can the dreaded neuralgia manifest itself, a condition that can become chronic. It is particularly striking after the age of 50. Both medical and surgical therapy are possible. On the insert on newsstands for free with the Corriere della sera Thursday 25 November

We are publishing a preview of an article in the new Corriere Salute. You can read the full text on the free issue on newsstands Thursday 25 November or in Pdf on the Digital Edition of Corriere della Sera.

Like a stab in the face, a sudden pain that lasts very little but really terrible: this is the typical sensation experienced by those suffering from trigeminal neuralgia. This condition, which mainly affects after the age of 50, affects about three in a thousand people and unfortunately up to 40 percent of diagnoses can be wrong.

What is trigeminal neuralgia?

a neurological disease involving the 5th cranial or trigeminal nerve, a nerve that divides into three branches that each innervate one third of the face. The upper one innervates the scalp, forehead and eye; the middle one crosses the cheek, jaw and upper lip; while the lower branch innervates the mandible, teeth, gums and lower lip and the only one to have both a sensory and motor component – says Elisabetta Venturelli, neurologist at the Neurology Operating Unit, Headache Center, Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo -. In 95 percent of cases the neuralgia concerns the second and third branches, in the remaining cases the ophthalmic one.

What are the possible causes?

Trigeminal neuralgia can be primary, the most frequent form, or secondary. In the first case, it is usually caused by the compression of the trigeminalis by a vein or an artery. If the vessel touches the nerve and “ruins” it, the so-called neurovascular conflict is created. In practice, the vessel damages the myelin sheath that lines the nerve and makes it easily irritable and susceptible to pain for minimal stimuli. Sometimes the vessel and nerve can come into contact without damage to the myelin, resulting in an inflammatory process. Secondary neuralgia, on the other hand, results from underlying conditions such as tumors, vascular abnormalities or diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

You can continue reading the article in Corriere Salute on newsstands for free on Thursday 25 November or in Pdf in the Digital Edition of Corriere della Sera.

November 24, 2021 (change November 24, 2021 | 19:27)

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