neuralgic, adj.
/noo ral"jeuh, nyoo-/, n. Pathol.
sharp and paroxysmal pain along the course of a nerve.
[1815-25; NEUR- + -ALGIA]

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Pain of unknown cause in the area covered by a peripheral sensory nerve.

In trigeminal neuralgia (tic douloureux), brief attacks of severe shooting pain along a branch of the trigeminal nerve (in front of the ear) usually begin after middle age, more often in women. Initially weeks or months apart, they become more frequent and easily triggered by touching the affected area, talking, eating, or cold. Analgesics help, but permanent cure requires surgery. Glossopharyngeal neuralgia causes recurring severe pain, most often in men over 40. Excruciating pains begin in the throat and radiate to the ears or down the neck, with or without a trigger (e.g., sneezing, yawning, chewing). Usually separated by long intervals, attacks subside before analgesics take effect. Surgery may help in extreme cases. See also neuritis.

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      cyclic attacks of acute pain occurring in a peripheral sensory nerve; the cause of the pain is unknown, and pathological changes in nerve tissue cannot be found. There are two principal types of neuralgia: trigeminal neuralgia and glossopharyngeal neuralgia.

      Trigeminal neuralgia (tic douloureux) is characterized principally by brief attacks of severe pain along the trigeminal nerve (lying on the skull in front of the ear (ear, human)). The disease may occur at any age after puberty but most commonly affects persons over 50 years of age. It affects women more frequently than men. Intense, stabbing pain is felt in the jaw or cheek. In early stages of the disease, these pains last for less than a minute or two, with weeks or months between attacks. As the condition progresses, the periods between attacks become shorter. Areas around the nose and mouth become hypersensitive and, when touched, trigger an attack. Attacks may also be caused by talking, eating, drinking, or exposure to cold. Anticonvulsant medications are used to treat trigeminal neuralgia; analgesics (analgesic) may offer temporary relief. If medications fail to relieve pain, the condition may be cured by decompressing or severing the sensory root of the trigeminal nerve.

      Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is a relatively rare disorder characterized by recurring severe pain in the pharynx, tonsils (tonsil), back of the tongue, and middle ear (ear, human). The onset of the disease usually occurs after the age of 40; males are affected more frequently than females. Pain may begin in the throat and radiate to the ears or down the side of the neck. It may occur spontaneously or be triggered by sneezing, coughing, yawning, chewing, or talking. Attacks usually last only a few seconds to a minute or two and are separated by long intervals. Anticonvulsant medications used to treat trigeminal neuralgia may also be useful to alleviate the pain of glossopharyngeal neuralgia. Surgery may be necessary in extreme cases.

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Universalium. 2010.

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