Migraine Term of the Day: Trigeminal Neuralgia

Patient Expert
Medically Reviewed

Writer’s note: Some of you have expressed an interest in learning more of the medical terminology that comes up when discussing Migraine disease and other headache disorders. So, I’ll be posting a “term of the day,” on a regular basis. If there are terms you’d like to have defined, please leave a comment below.

When we’re given Migraine and headache information, whether from our doctor, a book, or an online article, we sometimes come across medical terms that can be confusing. While it’s easy enough to substitute another word or a short phrase for the medical term, there are times when substituting doesn’t quite convey the same meaning.

Trigeminal neuralgia is one of those terms. We see it used when talking about Migraine symptoms and diagnosis, and it’s an important term for patients with Migraine to understand.


Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition affecting the trigeminal nerve, the nerve that carries sensation from the face to the brain. Trigeminal neuralgia can cause even mild stimulation to the face to trigger extreme jolts of pain. Trigeminal neuralgia can begin with mild attacks and progress. Like Migraine, it affects women more than men, and it’s more likely to impact people over 50.

Here’s an example of how it’s used in a sentence:

Both trigeminal neuralgia and Migraine impact the trigeminal nerve and can cause facial pain. Getting an accurate diagnosis is critical.


Mayo Clinic Staff. Trigeminal neuralgia. The May Clinic. July 26, 2017.