Rare facial pain condition keeps Hornchurch man indoors

Trigeminal neuralgia sufferer Peter Hogg with his cocktail of drugs

Trigeminal neuralgia sufferer Peter Hogg with his cocktail of drugs - Credit: Archant

A man with a rare nerve condition that causes intense facial pain so severe it can confine him to his home is calling on the government to invest more to support medical research.

Peter Hogg, 73, of Hornchurch, who avoids leaving his home in fear of having a facial spasm, has tried a host of treatments and operations for the painful attacks but still has to use morphine to ease the pain.

Trigeminal neuralgia, causes sufferers to feel shooting pains in the face due to the compression of a nerve in the skull.

Peter, who has suffered for about 12 years, contacted the Recorder to help him raise awareness of the condition, which only affects an estimated 27 in every 100,000 people in the UK.

Peter has to rely on his children to buy him clothes and essentials. He said: “It’s the worst pain anyone could possibly feel and people have been known to commit suicide because of it.”

He added: “I’ve had it for more than 10 years now and the stress it causes is really bad – it’s just a terrible illness.”

The Trigeminal Neuralgia Association member, who gets the pain on the right side of his face, has had complete days of his life wiped away by enduring consecutive episodes.

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Peter and his wife Anne, 62, are hoping that a gamma knife procedure – a form of radiotherapy – could provide some respite from the condition.

“It’s difficult to get the right treatment and a big problem is that not a lot of nurses understand it.”

Although there is no cure for the condition, which affects more women than men, it can be controlled to some extent – initially with medication designed to treat epilepsy.

Peter said: “I’m on a very high dose of tablets and I don’t know if it really helps at all.

“Not enough is being done to raise awareness because only a handful of people have it. The government should do more to help medical professionals find better treatments.”

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