Page last updated at 18:35 GMT, Tuesday, 27 July 2010 19:35 UK

MP urges greater awareness of trigeminal neuralgia

On 27 July 2010, Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick led a debate on trigeminal neuralgia, a rare condition affecting nerves in the face which he said was "agonisingly painful".

Mr Fitzpatrick told MPs he had suffered from the condition himself, and was a member of the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association UK (TNA UK).

He urged ministers to raise awareness of the condition. "Greater familiarity among medical and dental practitioners would save money and, more importantly, reduce suffering," he said.

"Trigeminal neuralgia affects one or more of the three branches of the trigeminal nerve in the head and has been called 'the worst pain known to man'," the MP for Poplar and Limehouse explained.

"It is characterised by sudden, excruciating spasms of electric shock-like pain, usually just on one side of the face," he added.

The Labour MP said that his condition had been "much improved" by an operation last December, expressing "sincere thanks" to the medical staff at the national hospital for neurology and neurosurgery in Queen's square, London.

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