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Volume 33 , Issue 1
Winter 2019

Pages 77–88

Comparison of the Neuropathic Pain Symptoms and Psychosocial Impacts of Trigeminal Neuralgia and Painful Posttraumatic Trigeminal Neuropathy

Lydia N. Melek, BDS, MSc, PhD/Jared G. Smith, PhD/Aalia Karamat, BDS, MSc/Tara Renton, BDS, MDSc, PhD, FDSRCS, FRSDS (OMS), FHEA

PMID: 30703173
DOI: 10.11607/ofph.2157

Aims: To compare the impacts of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and painful posttraumatic trigeminal neuropathy (PPTTN) on psychologic function and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) using a comprehensive quantitative assessment. Methods: This was a comparative cross-sectional study. A total of 97 patients diagnosed with PPTTN and 40 patients diagnosed with TN who sought treatment at an orofacial pain clinic completed standardized self-report measures of pain intensity, neuropathic symptoms, pain self-efficacy, mood, and indicators of general and oral HRQoL. Differences between the PPTTN and TN groups were tested, and associations of each condition with pain severity, psychologic function, and HRQoL were examined. Results: The majority of PPTTN (66%) and TN patients (80%) were affected by orofacial pain. Pain attacks were more frequent in TN (71%) than PPTTN (28%) patients, while numbness was more common in PPTTN (51%) than TN (12%) patients. Pain intensity was higher in TN for intermittent and affective pain dimensions. Both PPTTN and TN had a significant, but comparable, impact on patients’ oral HRQoL. The burden of condition on overall health was significantly more pronounced in patients with TN than PPTTN, with evident differences in the mobility and self-care domains. There was a trend showing that more TN (54%) than PPTTN (36%) patients reported signs of depression, but clinically significant anxiety was comparably high in both groups (34% to 39%). Anxiety and pain self-efficacy were closely related to oral and general health statuses in both groups. Conclusions: Both TN and PPTTN are associated with significant psychosocial burden and reduced HRQoL, indicating a need to develop effective treatments for neuropathic orofacial pain that target functional restoration.

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