By some strange quirk, the right side of the face is more affected than the left side.
The episodic pain begins when a "trigger zone" is touched or felt. Cases of the pain beginning when shaving or even splashing water on the face are documented in literature. Sometimes even a light breeze or smiling might trigger the painful episode.
The pain after a trigger zone is activated is of a severe nature and is described as either a stabbing or a burning type.
Each episode of the attack lasts for some seconds to several minutes.
In fact the pain is so intense that patients do not undertake normal activities for the fear of provoking another episode.
Some of the trigger zones are the areas around the lips, eyes, corner of the lower jawbone and area near the ear.
Diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia is usually based on the symptoms. Sometimes a MRI is done to rule out the presence of tumors near the nerves.