Combating Hemifacial Spasms

By https://www.txneurosurgeryllp.com/author/
August 15, 2016

 Lumber Fracture Spinal Fracture Treatment | Hemifacial Spasm Treatment Dallas TX | Addison TXA spinal fracture is a break in the bones of the spine, collectively known as vertebrae, which protect the spinal cord. While a spinal fracture can occur in anyone, it most commonly affects males between the ages of 18 and 25. A spinal fracture may occur as a result of sports-related injuries, falls, car accidents, or certain diseases. Symptoms of a spinal fracture may include loss of bladder or bowel control, paralysis, numbness, tingling, muscle spasms, back pain, or neck pain. To diagnose a spinal fracture, your doctor will perform a physical examination and review your medical history. Diagnosis To obtain a detailed view of your vertebrae, imaging tests are typically done; these tests may include x-ray, MRI, or CT scan. Treatment for a spinal fracture varies based on severity. Mild spinal fractures can often be treated with bracing and orthotics, while surgery may be necessary for more severe cases. Your doctor will develop a customized treatment plan based on your individual condition. Trigeminal Neuralgia Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as tic douloureux, is a neurological disorder affecting the trigeminal nerve, the nerve that carries sensory information from the face to the brain. This chronic condition causes severe, shooting pain in the face, sometimes as fleeting, momentary twinges, other times as frequent bouts of excruciating pain. Because the trigeminal nerve is responsible for sensation all around the face, including the eyes, mouth and sinus cavities, trigeminal neuralgia can result in pain on one side of the jaw, cheek or mouth, or, less frequently, near the forehead or one of the eyes. The pain usually comes on suddenly and, although it lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes, may be physically and mentally incapacitating. When the pain occurs along the cheek or jaw, it is sometimes mistaken for a severe toothache. Episodes may be triggered by activities that cause a vibration in the cheek, such as shaving, brushing the teeth, applying makeup, eating, drinking or talking, or even encountering a slight breeze. As the condition progresses, the episodes of pain may become longer and more frequent. Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia An exact cause of trigeminal neuralgia has not been established, although in many cases it is brought on by contact between a blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve. It may be the result of an artery or vein compressing the trigeminal nerve as it exits the brain. The condition occurs most often in people age 50 and older and affects more women than men. It may be the result of aging or related to neurological conditions that damage the myelin sheath, such as multiple sclerosis. More rarely, trigeminal neuralgia may be caused by a tumor on the trigeminal nerve. In some cases, trigeminal neuralgia is idiopathic, meaning it has no discernible cause. Hemifacial Spasm Hemifacial spasmInvoluntary muscle spasms are unwanted anywhere on our bodies. But while irritating involuntary muscle spasms such as jittery legs are nothing more than an annoyance, other conditions such as hemifacial spasms can start as an annoyance and become more serious, even to the extent of closing off the vision in one eye.

What are hemifacial spasms?

Hemifacial spasm is a condition where involuntary muscle spasms affect one side of the face. The can begin innocuously as an occasional twitching in an eyelid or on the cheek. But as they become stronger, the spasms can end up closing an eye on that side. They can also spread down the face, causing the mouth to contort. If left untreated, every muscle on one side of the face may start to exhibit increasingly frequent spasms. The condition affects men and women equally, usually developing in middle age.

What are the causes?

Although all of the causes of hemifacial spasms are not fully understood, it is thought the most common cause is excessive pressure on a facial nerve where it exits the brainstem. A tumor in the same region can also be the cause. In some cases, no obvious cause is evident.

Symptoms of hemifacial spasms

This condition often develops gradually. Initially, the muscles surrounding the eye may be affected by muscle spasms. The spasms may then spread to other muscles on the same side of the face, particularly those muscles around the jaw and mouth. At the time of the spasm, the patient may hear a clicking sound in the ear of the affected side. Hemifacial spasms affect only one side of the face, more often the left side.

Treating hemifacial spasms

There is no cure for hemifacial spasms, but at Texas Neurosurgery we use botulinum toxin injections (a common brand name is Botox) to block the nerve signals in the muscles causing the spasms. Since the muscles don’t receive the messages to contract, they don’t and the spasms go away. For about three quarters of our patients suffering from hemifacial spasms, botulinum toxin injections make the condition manageable. Our expertise, which is crucial for correctly targeting the precise muscles involved, is important for successful management. These injections are repeated every three to four months as the body eventually absorbs the eventually inert toxin and the spasms can begin again.

If botulinum toxin injections are not effective, we can use a surgical procedure known as microvascular decompression to alleviate pressure on the nerve exiting the brainstem.

Do you have symptoms of hemifacial spasms? Call the team at Texas Neurosurgery, 214-823-2052, and let’s get a handle on it.

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