Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is a rare pain condition affecting the glossopharyngeal nerve, which is deep in the neck. The pain associated with this condition can last from a few seconds to a few minutes and may occur multiple times a day or only a few times a week. Many people can identify a specific trigger that causes the pain, while for others there is no apparent cause. Generally, this condition is seen in older adults. 

Signs and Symptoms

Common symptoms of glossopharyngeal neuralgia can include severe pain in the following areas:

  • Back of the nose and throat
  • Back of the tongue
  • Ear
  • Tonsil area
  • Voice box

Symptoms can be triggered or made worse by jaw and throat movement, such as chewing, coughing or sneezing, laughing, talking and swallowing.

Potential Causes

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia can be caused by pressure on the glossopharyngeal nerve that helps control sensory, parasympathetic and motor functions. This pressure can be the result of blood vessels, growths, tumors or infection.


Diagnosis of a glossopharyngeal neuralgia starts with a physical exam and medical history. Other procedures and tests may be needed to diagnose this condition, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and x-rays .

Treatment Options

There are different treatment options depending on the severity of your symptoms:

  • Medication to manage pain
  • Microvascular decompression

Request an appointment online and we will guide you through the next steps.