Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dude, you made my face hurt!

For about a week now I've had this pain on the left side of my face.  It started only in the evenings then during the day on Friday.  Taking 800 mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours offers minor relief.  Sure enough near the end of that 6 hour window the pain returns.  It starts around the bottom of my jaw, spreading across my cheek into my lip.  It feels as though someone is stabbing my cheek over and over again for hours on end!  Ice didn't do anything for the pain.  The heat of the shower felt more like needles over the area.

Benny insisted the pain was from my teeth but I didn't think so.  I don't feel that pain when touching my teeth or gums with fingers, toothbrush, food, etc.  So I sent a message to my doctor's office telling him what's going on.  The first thing they ask is if I'm having chest pains or trouble breathing.  Is that the norm to ask that for just about anything these days?  They set me up with an appointment the next morning with another doc in the practice since mine wasn't available.

This doctor asked questions and examined me.  I thought my lymph nodes might've been swollen too but she said they weren't.  The doctor went back into her office to lookup my bloodwork history (not sure why that couldn't be done in the exam room) and a little research.  She returned with the clinical diagnosis of Trigeminal neualgia, facial nerve pain.  Additional bloodwork was ordered.  She's consulting with a neurologist to determine the best course of treatment.  I was kind of surprised to hear the doctor was consulting and I didn't need to make a visit to the neurologist.  She did say it's unusual to see something like this in someone my age; it's more something for the old folks.  But hey, most things that happen with me are unusual!

After a quick search I found this to a great representation of the trigeminal nerve paths.

It's surprising to hear the first course of treatment is antiseizure drugs such as Tegretol and Neurontin.  It appears that these drugs interfere with overactive pain signals coming from the nerves.  I looked up both drugs to see what's covered by insurance.  It appears Neurontin's generic would be the least expensive choice being a tier 1 drug.  I've sent a message to the doctor letting her know my preference so that can be taken into consideration in her conversation with the neurologist.  So hopefully by the weekend I'll be in less pain!

One good thing out of this doctor visit is I learned I lost 18 lbs without even trying!  She was surprised I didn't know and wasn't trying.  Hey, you don't have a scale you don't know these things! LOL

For details on facial nerve pain check out the Trigeminal neuralgia information on WebMD.

1 comment :

  1. Great picture, maybe explains a lot of my pain. I've been to the neurologist and will have MRI on 2/5. Thank you!