Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Symposium, Dublin

xzsf_vs1504October has finally arrived, which means that the 4th International Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day is almost upon us. On October 7th the Light Up Teal campaign will see buildings across the world light up in a teal hue, with many buildings in Ireland joining the awareness campaign.

So far, confirmation of 34 structures has been received, including the 3 Arena, Convention Center, Mansion House, Cork City Council, National Concert Hall, Christ Church Cathedral, Shannon Airport, NUI Maynooth and Galway Cathedral. Elsewhere, Niagara Falls, the Canada Peace Bridge, Perth Concert Hall, the Trafalgar Sq Fountains, Taipei Tower and The Sichuan Tower to name just a few, will don the same colour also.


Trigeminal neuralgia is a widely unknown condition to many, after all, “Facial pain isn’t real pain?!”

To highlight its sad existence, the Neuroscience Society of Trinity College, Dublin and Trigeminal Neuralgia Ireland will host a public symposium on October 7th from 6 pm to 9.30pm to raise awareness about TN. The closing date of registration for the event has now passed, but media around the country will ensure that TN is emphasised and talked about by healthcare professionals, patients, their families and friends.

According to the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association in the UK, “TN is regarded as the most painful condition that is known in the medical world.” It is often referred to as the “the suicide disease”, leading to people with TN taking their life as the severity of the pain can be excruciating. For this reason, a lot more awareness needs to be spread in every corner of Ireland to ensure people get the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Anyone who’s been following my writing, either here, the Irish MS society’s blog or the Novartis MS blog, knows how complicated my relationship with trigeminal neuralgia is. It is hard explaining to someone who has never had any facial and eye pain symptoms, but you do what you can to live as pain-free and happy as you can and to raise TN’s profile when and where possible.

What is trigeminal neuralgia?

TN is a chronic neurological disorder of the trigeminal nerve (also called the 5th cranial nerve) in the brain that controls sensation in the face. There are two main forms of TN: typical or TN1, and symptomatic (atypical) TN or TN2.

The function of the trigeminal nerve is to send pain messages to the brain. When, however, this nerve malfunctions, pain messages are sent at inappropriate times and is translated in different sensations and severity in the face.

Typical idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia results in irregular, extreme, sudden burning or shock-like pain on the side of the face along one or more branches of the trigeminal nerve (maxillary, mandibular, and/or ophthalmic branches). This can last from a few seconds to 15 minutes or longer and can return over the space of a few hours. It makes the person with TN wince, hence it being referred to as tic douloureux or painful twitch.

Symptomatic (atypical) TN often registers as a persistent dull ache or a burning pain in part of the face. Sharp, intense pain, however, can also occur in the teeth, ears, cheeks, behind the eyes and scalp, and further complicate atypical TN. Periods of remission in ATN are rare. Symptomatic trigeminal neuralgia is less common. When the condition is the result of confirmed pathology like demyelination, multiple sclerosis, or compression by blood vessels or tumour, the condition is described as secondary.

It is possible that both forms can be found in the same patient.

Having TN or ATN pain on both sides of the face at the same time is rare, as it is usually different on both sides at any one time.

Further reading

  1. TN triggers, symptoms, examination & diagnosis
  2. Detailed trigeminal neuralgia  info
  3. Trigeminal neuralgia info chart


Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Symposium for Trigeminal Neuralgia in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute on the 7th October 2016 from 6-9.30pm. This symposium is open to the public, patients, their carer’s and healthcare professional.

There will be three speakers on the night

1st speaker: Researcher Prof Paul Durham from Missouri State University, will speak about the research into Trigeminal Neuralgia including that of his work.

2nd Speaker: Dr Josh Keaveny, consultant pain management specialist from Beaumont Hospital and the sports surgery clinic Dublin, will talk about the current medical and surgical treatments for TN

3rd Speaker: Prof David Finn, President of the Irish Pain Society, and co-founder and co-director of the Pain Research Center in Galway will speak about chronic pain trials and the management of chronic pain.

There will then be an open panel discussion for the audience to ask questions.

This symposium is all about educating, creating awareness of TN and providing hope to patients.

This symposium is kindly sponsored by Mundipharma, Grunenthal, Irish Pain Society, Chronic Pain Ireland, Neuroscience Ireland, Novartis and Neurosoc TCD

Event page Public Meeting for Trigeminal Neuralgia


© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2016. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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