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Fifth Cranial Nerve


What You Should Know About Fifth Cranial Nerve Disorders

Disorders of the fifth cranial nerve are different than those of other cranial nerves. The most common cause of a disorder of the cranial nerve is compression around the brain stem. The brain step is located near the base of the skull. When there is compression in that area of the brain it will cause an injury to the nerve.

The insulation around the fifth cranial nerve is known as MYELIN; this insulation of the nerves works very much the same as the insulation around wiring. A common reason why this nerve becomes damaged is because there is an artery or a vein pressing against the area where this nerve is located in the brain.

One of the contributing conditions that can cause an artery to press up against the fifth cranial nerve is when there is hardening of the arties. As the condition continues to worsen, the arteries will actually extend to the point that they move into a different position and begin to press against nerves. Once the protective insulation is injured, it can cause a short circuit with the nerve.

Compression of the fifth cranial nerve and the symptoms that someone experiences has also been associated with brain aneurysms, as well as tumors. For this reason, if someone has symptoms of nerve compression in the brain, it is very important that they get an MRI to determine what the cause is. Both, brain aneurysms and tumors can be fatal medical conditions that need to be diagnosed as soon as possible.

It can be difficult to know who will be at risk for a disorder of a fifth cranial nerve. Some people are born with an inherited risk of the veins and arteries enlarging and compressing against the nerves. One risk factor for this disorder is age. After the age of 50, the risk increases.

When there is compression of the fifth cranial nerve, one of the symptoms will be a repeated pain across one side of the face; the pain will often radiate out. These episodes of pain can last from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. There may be several of these attacks over the course of a couple of weeks, but then they stop, or become less frequent for a period of weeks or months.

Some additional symptoms may include episodes of pain during the night; there may also be some pain when you touch a certain part of the face, tongue and lips. In some cases the pain can be severe enough to cause avoidance of everyday activities. The location of the pain will depend on which of the three areas of the fifth cranial nerve is damaged.

Aside from compression, there are other conditions that may cause damage to this nerve; these medical conditions include MS, meningitis, infections, injury, and even certain types of medications. If you begin to experience symptoms of a fifth cranial nerve compression it is imperative that you see your doctor as soon as possible. Although it is possible that the cause will be benign, it can be more serious.

When going in for your appointment, make sure that you tell your doctor exactly where you are experiencing pain, such as the face, tongue, jaw etc. This will let your doctor know that your symptoms may be caused by damage to the fifth cranial nerve, and he or she will likely order an MRI so they can get a picture of what is going on. The sooner you are able to get a diagnosis, the better.


 

 


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