Trigeminal neuralgia as the sole neurological manifestation of COVID-19: A case report

Headache. 2021 Mar;61(3):560-562. doi: 10.1111/head.14075. Epub 2021 Mar 22.


Objective: To describe a case report of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) due to coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).

Background: In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. Respiratory system manifestations are dominant in this new disease. However, numerous case series and reviews have been published on the neurological manifestations, highlighting the potential neurotropism of the new coronavirus.

Methods: We describe a clinical case of TN during COVID-19 and we discuss the differential diagnosis and the potential pathogenic mechanism according to the literature.

Results: A 65-year-old man with general malaise and typical respiratory symptoms of COVID-19, who presented with paroxysmal lancinating pain in the right V1 trigeminal territory without other neurological symptoms. General blood test and neuroimaging study were normal. A rapid test showed positive IgG and IgM serologies for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The patient was diagnosed with TN secondary to a viral infection by SARS-CoV-2. Facial pain resolved with the improvement of COVID-19.

Conclusions: The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is a possible etiology of secondary TN. Nevertheless, more studies are needed to elucidate the neuropathology of this viral infection.

Keywords: coronavirus disease-2019; headache; neurological symptoms; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; trigeminal neuralgia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / virology*