I believe what triggered mine was an incident I had overseas. I felt/heard a ‘pop’ in the back of my neck and a ‘fire’ up the back of my head to my forehead. This happened about 7 pm and it only lasted a few seconds. Later – around 3 am I awoke and tried to get out of bed. I had severe balance problems and collapsed on the floor. I was taken to a doctor where he discovered I had extremely high blood pressure as well. After 3 prescriptions and about 5 days I flew home and my family doctor has had me on blood pressure medications ever since. the MRI showed I had a collapsed right vertebral artery, so 10% of my blood flow was affected to areas of the brain that deal with short term memory and balance. I read on the Internet that a collapsed vertebral artery can cause trigeminal neuralgia on the opposite side of the face – exactly where mine is. I saw a specialist in Iowa City – he said I was suffering from ‘dementia’ – it was all in my head – I was just imagining the pain. What a joke! Then I saw a local neurologist. He spent 5 minutes with me and claimed the collapsed right vertebal could have been that way since birth. Right … That’s when my family doctor got me the referral to Mayo. I’m not imagining the pain! I am an intelligent adult; I serve on city council; I participate in community theatre; I teach a Sunday School class; I have 6 kids, their spouses and 8 grandchildren I interact with on a regular basis. At 56 I have a lapse of short term memory occasionally that I recognize. I think it is because of age and the lack of blood flowing to my brain that controls short term memory.
I did fall off a ladder in August 2011 and smacked the back of my head, but the trigeminal neuralgia started in mid-December.
I do have a question for those on a combination of tegretol & gabepentine. Do you experience slight spasms in your shoulders, elbows, and wrists? I’m taking 200 mg of tegretol 3 times per day and the same with the gabepentine. I recently increased the dose to that level and did not experience these before.