How to help a loved one with TN

Hi All,

I have some questions for those of you have suffer with TN. My mother has had TN for the past couple of years, but just recently been suffering with the TN pain on the left side of her face everyday… Sometimes the pain would last a couple of seconds or hours non stop. Do any of you have any good tips on how to get through the pain? She is having an MVD done in a couple of weeks which she is very nervous about, and so are we. Have anyone of you had this procedure done, and what did you think of the recovery and outcome? I’m hoping for the best but I’m nervous for her! Thanks!

Hi Tammy,

I'm glad you are there and able to help your Mother through all of this. It must be difficult for you all to be there for her when she is in so much pain. I personally like my husband to pretty much leave me to it but I know he is there to help. Your Mother will need a few weeks recovery from the MVD so it would be useful if someone is there to do things around the house for her. Don't let her rush back to doing the housework she needs to look after herself for a while. I wish her all the best for the Op.


Tammy we have two groups here that focus specifically on MVD. I suggest that you join both and do some reading on both the successes and failures. Overall, if your mother is working with an experienced surgical team that has done over 100 procedures in the past, she can expect 90% or better success in moderating or eliminating pain from classic TN with its volleys of electric-shock stabbing pain. If she has a strong component of atypical TN (aka "TN-2") with its constant burning, boring, searing neuropathic symptoms, then the odds of complete removal of the pain are lower -- on the order of 50/50 for that component. But she can expect substantial improvement in quality of life with either one.

Suggest that you and your Mom view an excellent two-hour video by Dr. Ken Casey in front of a group of TN patients. The video is linked from near the top of our main page.

Regards and best

Red Lawhern, Ph.D.

Resident Research Analyst, LWTN

Dear Tammy,

What a sweet, wonderful daughter you are! It seems to me that facial pain, even TN varies so much, that it’s hard to say what may work for your mom. Eventually, she should be able to tell you what works for her at this stage. Until then, just believe that her pain is real, and be patient.

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