Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A Face Behind The Pain

Facial pain can come in various forms and have various causes.

One cause of the pain can be injury to the facial nerves. Perhaps a fall or a car accident cause an injury which leaves lasting damage.

Shelley, a TN sufferer in Canada, was at a baseball game when she was accidentally hit on the face by the baseball.

The result was shocking.
With thanks to Shelley for allowing us to use her photos

As the days passed, the bruising came out. Shelley's face was black, blue and a multitude of other colours.

She was in extreme pain.

People saw her and knew she was in extreme pain. The bruising allowed people to understand.

Nobody would have looked at her and thought, "there's nothing wrong with her", "why doesn't she just take a couple of painkillers?", "what is she complaining about?" or, perhaps worst of all,  "she doesn't look sick!"

Everybody who saw Shelley's face could tell the pain she was in. People could comprehend the agony.

However, bruises fade…...

Shelley's face soon turned back to normal. But, sadly, the damage to the nerves was permanent. The bruises were gone, but the pain remained, possibly even became worse.

Constant aching, burning, agonising pain….along with the emotional issues which go hand in hand with chronic illness.

Shelley became a sufferer of an extremely painful, but invisible condition. A condition which can take over a person's life. A condition which non-sufferers, including many doctors, find extremely difficult to comprehend.

If only people could see our invisible bruises, surely they would understand the pain.

There is no cure (at the moment) for trigeminal neuralgia or similar facial nerve pain. When nerves are injured, they are often damaged beyond repair. We all live in the hope of a cure, but until such time, we desperately need people to understand.

We need hope, we need support, we need understanding.

Our job as sufferers, is to try to make people understand the pain we live with. We must explain it in a way to make people at least try to understand.

End TN made a video last year called "Faces Behind the Pain" in the hope that non-sufferers could 'see' our pain. We don't want to shock people, or scare them, but we do want and need people to understand how painful Trigeminal Neuralgia is, how demanding living with this constant pain is and how frustrating and depressing life can become.

You may also want to go here to our Facebook awareness page to read the individual stories from the people who took part in this video.


How do you make people understand your pain? We'd really like to know. How do you describe it? Have you ever tried to 'draw' your pain to let family and friends, or even doctors, understand? Please let us know by either commenting here, or by contacting us through our Awareness Page or Support Group on Facebook.


  1. I will be on WGN FM (87.7) in Chicago tomorrow morning between 6-7am to discuss my trigeminal neuralgia experience. Living with this beast since 1993, finally diagnosed in August of 2013 with TN after many, many misdiagnoses. I'll also be attending the Illuminate the Night event tomorrow night at Chicago's Navy Pier ( Doing as much as I can to raise awareness. No one should have to go through what I've been through. Email me at to talk.


    1. Thank you for doing what you do. Hope the Illuminate night goes well.


Thank you for your comments.