Learn about getting a comprehensive orofacial pain evaluation and become an educated patient.
Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN or GN) is a relatively rare condition, occurring in less than one person in 100,000. The glossopharyngeal nerve is the 9th cranial nerve. It is responsible for feeling in the tongue and throat and movements such as swallowing and the gag reflex, along with others. “Glosso-” means related to the tongue; “pharyngeal” means related to the pharynx, or throat. The pain of GPN is typically severe, brief, sudden, and recurrent pain in the ear, base of the tongue, tonsils or beneath the angle of the jaw. Clusters of one-sided sharp, stabbing, pain shooting from throat to ear, or vice versa is characteristic of GPN. You may also feel an aching pain in the same area which persists. The pain can be present for years and may have spontaneous remissions. The pain attacks usually last for no more than two minutes. The sudden, brief episodes of GPN can be mistaken for trigeminal neuralgia.
Commonly, attacks occur during the day and can be triggered by movements of the jaw, such as swallowing, cold liquids, chewing, talking, sneezing, and clearing the throat. Touching the area and even sudden movements of the head can trigger GPN attacks. For some people, eating particular foods- sweet, spicy, or sour can trigger GPN.
Diagnosis for GPN is made through your explanation of your symptoms and an examination by your doctor. Because GPN can appear similar to trigeminal neuralgia, it is important for your doctor to exclude TN and other causes of pain due to inflammation or growths. Your doctor will also map out your pain to understand if it is typical GPN or involves other cranial nerves. Laboratory tests may be given to rule out underlying disease. MRI, MRA, and other imaging tests of the head or neck may be used to rule out nerve compression or tumors.
Most cases of GPN happen spontaneously or no cause is found. In some cases, it is caused by compression of the nerve by tumors, malformations, vascular compression, multiple sclerosis (MS), infection, or trauma.
Your doctor will perform an examination of your head and neck, ask you to explain your symptoms and history, and order tests, including an MRI to rule out underlying causes such as trigeminal neuralgia, tumor or underlying disease.
Dr. Derek Steinbacher, Director of Craniofacial Surgery, Yale Medicine, Chief of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery and Dentistry, FPA Medical Advisory Board member, reviews migraines, TMJ disorders, and dental pain.
Dr. Wolfgang Liedtke will discuss medical treatment of trigeminal neuropathic pain with Dr. Jeffrey Brown.
Wolfgang Liedtke, M.D. Ph.D. is Chair of Neurology, Global Development Scientific Council at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, he was Professor in the Departments of Neurology, Anesthesiology and Neurobiology; Attending Physician, Duke Neurology Clinics and Clinics for Innovative Pain Therapy, serving patients there for over 17 years.
Dr. Mark Linskey, Dr. Richard Zimmerman, and Megan Hamilton discuss what to look for in the decision making process when you are trying to find a doctor and treatment for facial pain.
Dr. Larry Arbeitman will answer: What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic? How does is differ from traditional Chiropractic methods? Learn about the connection between the Upper Cervical Spine and Facial Pain, research and case studies, what you can expect from UCC and how you can integrate it into your healthcare plan. You will also be able to ask Dr. Arbeitman your questions during this live presentation.
In this webinar, Dr. Jeffrey Brown, Chairman of the FPA Medical Advisory Board, talks about the top questions patients and their loved ones have regarding trigeminal neuralgia.
Dr. Raymond Sekula, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Director of the Cranial Nerve Disorders Program at UPMC, and FPA Medical Advisory Board member reviews the challenges that can complicate the care of people with neuropathic facial pain.
Dr. Deborah Barrett offers a framework and tools to help people improve their quality of life, just as they are, while also reducing pain and suffering. Her work draws from empirically based cognitive and behavioral interventions, and she practices what she preaches every day.
Dr. Jeffrey Brown, Chairman of the Facial Pain Association’s Medical Advisory Board, interviews Dr. Hossein Ansari on medical causes of neuropathic facial pain.
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Neuropathic facial pain is diagnosed almost exclusively by the individual’s description of the symptoms. Dr. Kim Burchiel developed a list of questions to help doctors determine exactly which classification may describe a […]
Jennifer M. Wagner, Executive Director of the Western Pain Society, explains the brain-body connection with an emphasis on pain response and provides a list of strategies for those affected by chronic pain.
Facial pain can be described in many words…but if you had to choose just one, what would it be? The YPC recently shared how we would describe TN in one word and how we plan to overcome TN.
Dr. Julie Pilitsis, Chair of the Department of Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics Professor of Neurosurgery Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Albany Medical Center and FPA Medical Advisory Board member presents an overview of trigeminal neuralgia and other neuropathic facial pains.
Dr. Konstantin Slavin discusses neuromodulation, a procedure used to treat and enhance quality of life in individuals who suffer severe chronic illness due to persistent pain.
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