Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Get The Correct Diagnosis!

When I received my Trigeminal Neuralgia diagnosis, I felt both relief and complete and utter horror all wrapped into one.

In one sense, I have a incurable condition that causes excruciating and constant pain. The other side of the coin is, well at least it's not fatal. Trigeminal Neuralgia won't kill me, it's not a degenerative disease and some surgeries and procedures can take away the pain for a while. On the whole, things could have been a hell of a lot worse.

I was tremendously lucky that I was diagnosed quickly. My GP knew straight away what I was suffering from and after speaking to some people with TN, I have found that it is quite rare for a GP to have such knowledge. Many people have had multiple teeth removed, been sent for several useless tests and sometimes they have even been told that the pain is "all in their head." I have heard of people that have waited over ten years for a clear diagnosis, while I barely waited ten minutes. It makes me wonder how people coped years ago, before TN was known about. Were sufferers deemed insane? Were they sent to institutions? It is called the suicides disease for a reason. Sufferers MUST get the care they need.

The moral of the story is this; if your doctor isn't sympathetic, knowledgeable, and willing to ensure that you receive the proper treatment and medication necessary, get a new one!
Remember, nobody knows your body better than you. You know when there is something wrong, and do not give up on getting a correct diagnosis! Go to an Accident and Emergency Department if the pain gets too bad!
Some dentists are also excellent at diagnosing TN, as early symptoms often present as a severe toothache.

Unfortunately in Ireland, there is a severe shortage of Neurologists and pain specialists, but with our abysmal health system that is hardly a surprise. Trigeminal Neuralgia is tough to diagnose, as it normally doesn't show up on scans, it's up to the doctor to listen to their patient and diagnose from the symptoms evident. It is also normal to be sent for CT scans and MRI scans to make sure there isn't anything more sinister going on, ie brain tumours.

Building up awareness will not only help sufferers of TN, but it will also force medical professionals to be more vigilant. Fortunately Trigeminal Neuralgia is quite rare, usually 4-5 in 100,000 people will be affected. Women over 50 are more prone to TN, but at 28 I am in the minority. TN can also affect teenagers and even children, so a correct diagnosis is essential.

The thoughts of a person suffering alone is abhorrent to me. There is plenty of support out there. Should anyone need links to support groups, let me know. There are plenty of great ones on Facebook and Google +.


  1. Awareness about the condition is so important. Thanks for sharing your blog :)

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Much appreciated :)

  2. I'm a scientist who's developed a skin cream ("Gallixa") that many people suffering from TN say greatly relieves their pain, with no side effects. You can find more information at the Gallixa website, and you are also welcome to contact me directly. You have my best wishes for full relief from your pain.