Glossopharyngeal neuralgia

Alternative Names

Cranial mononeuropathy IX

Definition of Glossopharyngeal neuralgia

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is a condition in which there are repeated episodes of severe pain in the tongue, throat, ear, and tonsils, which can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is believed to be caused by irritation of the ninth cranial nerve, called the glossopharyngeal nerve. Symptoms usually begin in people over age 40.

Symptoms

Symptoms include severe pain in areas connected to the ninth cranial nerve:

Signs and tests

Tests will be done to identify problems, such as tumors, at the base of the skull. Tests may include:

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to control pain. Over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are not very effective for relieving glossopharyngeal neuralgia.

Expectations (prognosis)

How well you do depends on the cause of the problem and the effectiveness of the first treatment. Surgery is considered effective for people who do not benefit from medications.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/5/2010

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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