Gloss pharyngeal neuralgia (GN) is a rare pain syndrome that affects the glossopharyngeal nerve (a cranial nerve within the neck). The condition is characterised by sharp, stabbing pulses of pain in the back of the throat, tongue and ear.
Gloss pharyngeal neuralgia can be caused by compression of the gloss pharyngeal nerve. However, no cause is evident in some cases. Like trigeminal neuralgia, it is associated with multiple sclerosis.
The excruciating pain of gloss pharyngeal neuralgia may last for a few seconds to a few minutes. There can be multiple episodes of these symptoms in a day or it may also occur once every few weeks. Many individuals with the condition relate the attacks of pain to specific trigger factors such as swallowing, drinking cold liquids, sneezing, coughing, talking, clearing the throat, and touching the gums or inside the mouth.
Most of the treatment approaches attempt to treat the pain first with drugs. Some patients respond well to anticonvulsant drugs. Surgical options, including nerve resection, tractotomy, or microvascular decompression, should be considered when individuals either don’t respond to, or stop responding to, drug therapy. Surgery has been an effective treatment option and successful at ending the cycles of pain, although there may be some sensory loss in the mouth, throat, or tongue.
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