Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is a painful condition in which the nerve that controls the tongue, tonsils and taste, and the muscles used to swallow, gets irritated or compressed.

Overview

Symptoms

The most common symptom of glossopharyngeal nerve pain is sharp, stabbing pain in the back of the throat or the tongue, ear, tonsil area or voice box. These episodes can last a few seconds up to a few minutes. Chewing, coughing, laughing, swallowing or speaking can trigger the pain.

Diagnosis

Following a glossopharyngeal nerve diagnosis, you’ll first meet with your doctor for a physical exam. You’ll talk about your symptoms, and your doctor may order imaging tests, such as an MRI.

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Treatment Options

If you have glossopharyngeal neuralgia, your Aurora team, which includes neurologists and neurosurgeons, will work with you on a treatment plan to meet your needs. Your treatment will most likely begin with medication. 

Another option may include microvascular decompression surgery, in which surgeons make a small incision behind the ear to reach the affected nerve. They may insert a thin pad between the vessel and the nerve to stop the blood vessel from pressing on the nerve. 


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