Most feeling in the back and top of the head is transmitted to the brain by the two greater occipital nerves. There is one nerve on each side of the head. Emerging from between bones of the spine in the upper neck, the two greater occipital nerves make their way through muscles at the back of the head and into the scalp. They sometimes reach nearly as far forward as the forehead, but do not cover the face or the area near the ears; other nerves supply these regions. Sometimes the pain can also seem to shoot forward radiate toward one eye. In some patients the scalp becomes extremely sensitive to even the lightest touch, making washing the hair or lying on a pillow nearly impossible.
Glossary of Neurological Terms | Internet Stroke Center
Branches of the trigeminal nerve Branches of the trigeminal nerve Trigeminal neuralgia results in pain occurring in an area of the face supplied by one or more of the three branches of the trigeminal nerve. Trigeminal neuralgia symptoms may include one or more of these patterns: Episodes of severe, shooting or jabbing pain that may feel like an electric shock Spontaneous attacks of pain or attacks triggered by things such as touching the face, chewing, speaking or brushing teeth Bouts of pain lasting from a few seconds to several minutes Episodes of several attacks lasting days, weeks, months or longer — some people have periods when they experience no pain Constant aching, burning feeling that may occur before it evolves into the spasm-like pain of trigeminal neuralgia Pain in areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve, including the cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, lips, or less often the eye and forehead Pain affecting one side of the face at a time, though may rarely affect both sides of the face Pain focused in one spot or spread in a wider pattern Attacks that become more frequent and intense over time When to see a doctor If you experience facial pain, particularly prolonged or recurring pain or pain unrelieved by over-the-counter pain relievers, see your doctor. Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic Causes In trigeminal neuralgia, also called tic douloureux, the trigeminal nerve's function is disrupted. Usually, the problem is contact between a normal blood vessel — in this case, an artery or a vein — and the trigeminal nerve at the base of your brain. This contact puts pressure on the nerve and causes it to malfunction. Trigeminal neuralgia can occur as a result of aging, or it can be related to multiple sclerosis or a similar disorder that damages the myelin sheath protecting certain nerves.
Dictionary of Terms
Classification[ edit ] Under the general heading of neuralgia are trigeminal neuralgia TN , atypical trigeminal neuralgia ATN , occipital neuralgia , glossopharyngeal neuralgia and postherpetic neuralgia caused by shingles or herpes. The term neuralgia is also used to refer to pain associated with sciatica and brachial plexopathy. Atypical trigeminal neuralgia Atypical trigeminal neuralgia ATN is a rare form of neuralgia and may also be the most misdiagnosed form. The symptoms can be mistaken for migraines , dental problems such as temporomandibular joint disorder , musculoskeletal issues, and hypochondriasis. ATN can have a wide range of symptoms and the pain can fluctuate in intensity from mild aching to a crushing or burning sensation, and also to the extreme pain experienced with the more common trigeminal neuralgia.
It also carries taste sensations from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue , via the chorda tympani nerve a branch of the facial nerve. Note that the forehead muscles receive innervation from both hemispheres of the brain represented in yellow and orange. Some viruses are thought to establish a persistent or latent infection without symptoms, e. Reactivation of an existing dormant viral infection has been suggested  as a cause of acute Bell's palsy. Studies suggest that this new activation could be preceded by trauma, environmental factors, and metabolic or emotional disorders, thus suggesting that a host of different conditions may trigger reactivation.