Living with trigeminal neuralgia

Contributed by: Sarah
Reviewed by: Evelyn Corsini, MSW, May 2010

Sarah is a young woman with trigeminal neuralgia.

Living with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) has been a lesson in patience and perseverance.  I take a tricyclic antidepressant to help lessen the pain, but I have found that there are some times when I cannot control the condition and need to minimize the pain.  I don’t take prescription pain medications, so I rely on relaxation techniques to help lessen the pain.  I’ve found that many relaxation techniques can significantly reduce the pain, especially when it comes at inopportune moments. It has really been a life-saver for me.

I try to maintain an exercise routine when the pain is moderate.  If I have a bad week or two, I try not to let it get me down and get back on the horse once I’m feeling better.   Having a supportive network of family and friends is also key.  It helps to be around people that understand if I cannot speak because it is too painful – that it has nothing to do with them!  Keeping a social life has been hard, but now that I’m in less pain (usually I have moderate pain now, whereas when first diagnosed I was in severe pain frequently) I’m trying to rebuild that area of my life.  Having TN is tough, but I haven’t let it get me down yet!

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