Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition of recurring pain on one side of the face due to a malfunction of one or more of the three branches of the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is responsible for carrying sensation from the face to the brain. Trigeminal neuralgia is also known as tic douloureux, which means "painful tic."
The term tic is used because people with trigeminal neuralgia often contract their facial muscles, or wince when in pain, because the pain is so severe. Adults of any age can be affected; however, the disorder occurs more frequently as people age, and is more common in people over 50, especially in the elderly. Women are more likely than men to experience trigeminal neuralgia.