One of Bollywood’s most beloved actors, Salman Khan, came out and spoke about his battle with a nerve disorder that almost drove him to the point of suicide. While launching a song from him upcoming film, Tubelight, the actor said that the pain in his face was so intense that he couldn’t talk.

“That’s one disease that basically has the highest rates of suicides. Over education, over everything. There is so much of pain...I suffered that,” he said, much to the surprise of everyone present.

The Sultan star didn’t say how he recovered from the disorder but referred to it as a thing of the past. In Khan’s own words, his plan for overcoming the pain consisted of hard work and a complete devotion to his upcoming projects. This, he said, helped him through this painful journey.

What is Trigeminal neuralgia?

This disorder affects the trigeminal nerve in one’s face. This particular nerve has three branches which control the upper eye lid, eye, forehead, lower eyelid, cheek, nostril, upper lip, upper gum, jaw, lower lip, lower gum, and some muscles that are used for chewing.

When the nerve is affected, simple motions such as brushing teeth, shaving or feeling the breeze on one’s face could result in sharp, shooting pains. This pain lasts for a few seconds or minutes and occurs only on one side of the face. For many, the pain’s intensity drives them to suicide and patients even develop anxiety while thinking about their next attack.

What causes it?

The disorder is caused when blood vessels pressure and damage the protective sheath around the nerve. Myelin, the protective layer is also damaged when a bunch of tangled arteries or tumour press on it.

Is it curable?

Those who suffer from this disorder have been able to overcome it through certain surgeries. In some cases, doctors prescribe medications which act as pain suppressants. However, medicines' effect is known to decline after a while.