TN switching sides

Hello, I was diagnosed with TN around mother’s day. I was hospitalized on May 29th overnight. Upon my discharge I was given gabapentin to take 300mg three times a day. I’ve been takin it and the pain stopped on the right side. Well three days ago I know have the pain on the left side, but it’s worse. Someone please advise if it’s possible to switch sides and what else can I do for the pain. I can’t see the neurologist until July 26th

TN doesn’t switch sides. The only real movement of TN is around the various branches of the impacted nerve, each side of your face has it’s own separate nerve. Different parts of the nerve can flare but it’s confined to one side of the face. It’s incredibly rare to have TN on both sides, almost unheard of, actually.

It doesn’t make sense that the pain stopped on one side but started on the other side for TN, especially since you state medication helped the one side. Have you been checked dentally? Do you have a herpes/shingles outbreak? Did the hospital do an MRI? What about your upper neck? Has that been checked for pinched nerves?

I have ATN and am a huge fan of lidocaine patches. You can get them at the drug store (in America and Canada at least) under the name SalPas at 4% strength. Prescription is 5%. I cut the patch into strips and put it along the nerve branch that’s firing. Since it’s a topical anesthetic it might help.

By the way, Gabapentin isn’t the first line drug for TN. Typically the go-to med is Tripleptal and other anti-seizure or tricyclen anti-depressants like amtripline. Gabapentin, if it works, it usually in combination with another drug.

I was given gabapentin while in the hospital at the end of May because my entire left side went numb. I was check for a stroke and it was determined that I didn’t have one. I explained to them while there I had been previously diagnosed and they gave me gabapentin. I don’t know about a pinched nerve, I’ve not seen a doctor yet. My appointment for a neurologist isn’t until July 26th. The pain I’m experiencing on the left side is worse. My ear hurts, I’m getting these burst of sharp pain in my head right above my temple, my lips itch(tingle) around my jaw line it burns really bad. My ear feels hot. It’s driving me crazy

The symptoms you just described sound like tmj, which can cause atypical type facial pain. I have seen dentists, oral surgeons, pain specialists, physical therapists and more.

I have bilateral pain as well. However, this is because i have both TMJ and TN. Maybe this is whats going on for you too?

Sorry for your pain. I am going to disagree with many of the posters here. Yes, it definitely can switch sides. While bilateral symptoms are rare, don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t possible. I have Trigeminal Neuralgia in my family (6 family members) and we all have bilateral symptoms. While both sides never flare up at the same time, I have had it suddenly switch sides many times.

I also suffered with Bilateral TN…I’m not sure if it switched sides but, I had TN on my Right side, many years ago: after many years of treatment & suffering, I chose an ablation of the nerve. Years after that, I developed TN on my Left side; began treatment and then decided on MVD surgery.
It is also in my family…My mother had it and so did her mother.
I wish you a pain free life

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Hi KM1

I’ve been suffering from TN since 2015 and very recently had a really bad flare up despite being on Oxcarbazepine. Really interested on your experience of MVD and nerve ablation as I really need something else other than meds and I’m seeing Neurologist next week. Any thoughts you have on the subject most welcome. I’ve recently become a Nan for the first time and don’t want this wretched thing blighting what should be a happy time and future. Please help.

Good Morning Mutti41,

As I mentioned previously, my mother had TN and had the ablation more than 25 years ago and because of her success, I decided to have the procedure done for my right side. (My MRI also did not show compression of the TN nerve). It was a day procedure (in and out of the hospital) and I had immediate relief. This is not without residual side effects. Your face is numb after this procedure and it takes your brain some time to get used to it. But, my opinion…It was well worth it. No pain…No meds.
About 6 years later, I began to experience TN pain on my left side. I began my new medication regime and suffered severely. The MRI on my left side showed compression. I consulted with a neuro surgeon and after some time of suffering I scheduled the surgery. I had a very good experience. I stayed in the hospital for 3 days, using ice and minimal pain medication.
I was without pain for about 1 year and I began to get symptoms of TN back. It Sucked!!! I went on meds for about 2 months and my pain subsided. I’m presently pain free and medication free.
I personally believe even the surgeons/doctors don’t understand this crazy condition. You have to do what is best for you.
PS- I believe that the herpes virus (fever sore) plays some type of role in MY condition and may be the triggering factor. I pay very close attention in the prevention of any herpes outbreak (sun exposure, cold exposure) and have a prescription readily available for treatment if I feel I am having an outbreak. This type of virus, lives dormant in the TN nerve.
Good Luck with your decison(s)!! Keep us posted.
I wish you a pain free life!

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Thank you for replying and relaying your personal experience. My appointment is on Thursday 19th July and I will keep an open mind whilst exploring possibilities. I don’t like living with the spectre of TN attacks and now that the meds are not as effective I want to take positive action. I do have nerve and artery in close proximity left side but attacks are sporadic with no obvious triggers apart from eating and talking! Two of my pleasures. Anyway thank you for your good wishes. I will report my progress and share experience to help others when I get to that place. Thanks once again. Wishing you a pain free life too : )