It is now official that October 7 is recognized as Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day in the City of DeRidder.

The resolution states that trigeminal neuralgia is a disease that impacts men and women of all ages, races, and ethnicities, including DeRidder City Councilwoman Kimaron Moore as of May this year. One other city employee is also stricken with the disease.

Trigeminal neuralgia is typically diagnosed after the age of fifty, but affects individuals of all ages, including children and infants. It is estimated that 120,000 to 150,000 people are diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia every year.

Trigeminal neuralgia is a neurological disease of the fifth cranial nerve that alters the sensation of touch to the face, resulting in excruciating pain. The pain caused by the disease is of such intensity that trigeminal neuralgia is also known as “the suicide disease” and “the worst pain known to man.”

Moore said when people ask what it feels like, she describes it as a “migraine, earache, toothache all at once, times five. And that is for a “normal” day.” During a flare up, she said it is times ten. On those days she cannot do much of anything. It is debilitating.

Trigeminal neuralgia is not directly inherited, though studies show that genetic factors can indicate that certain individuals are susceptible to the disease. 

The exact cause of trigeminal neuralgia is still unknown, though some patients are helped by surgery, trigeminal neuralgia is often unresponsive to surgical and pharmaceutical intervention, or the benefit of those interventions are short-lived.

When asked how she manages daily life with this disease, Moore said, “Lots of prayer and they do have trial medication. They start you on one med.; if it doesn’t work, they will move you to another med., and so on. If it’s a really bad flare up you have to take pain medication.”

For Moore, triggers are caused by eating certain foods, high levels of stress, vibrations from loud music (sometimes), or the placement of blowing air. “The longer you are in it, you start to discover the triggers.” She is still learning the dos and don’ts, being so new to trigeminal neuralgia.

Many sufferers and supporters of those with trigeminal neuralgia have formed groups dedicated to providing education, support, and the raising of funds for research, and the Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Facial Pain Association having spearheaded the implementation of a Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day. 

These organizations are dedicated not only to educating the public, the medical community, and patients, but also to raising funds for direly needed research into the causes and potential cures of trigeminal neuralgia.

Additional funding and research can enable those individuals disabled by this disorder to live to their fullest potential against trigeminal neuralgia.

The goals of Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day are to invite individuals to join the movement to end trigeminal neuralgia, to encourage individuals to demonstrate a commitment to moving toward a world free of trigeminal neuralgia, and to acknowledge the individuals who have dedicated their time and talent to promote research and programs to end trigeminal neuralgia.