Professional background

After obtaining dental (King's College London) and medical (University of Cambridge) degrees and specialist training in oral medicine, Joanna gained an MD in trigeminal neuralgia and a personal chair in facial pain. She held an academic post at the dental school at Queen Mary, London for 10 years before moving to her present post. Between 2007-2015, she developed and ran the largest award-winning UK centre for facial pain which is integrated with other disciplines across UCLH.

To ensure a high quality innovative service, the centre offers a patient-centred approach with evidence-based integrated care pathways. It is the largest UK centre for the multidisciplinary management of trigeminal neuralgia, which is enabling Joanna to set up a National Institute for Trigeminal Neuralgia. She is also part of the team at the Pain Management Centre.

Joanna was the first non-anaesthetist to become a member of the Faculty of Pain Medicine. She has written six books, contributed chapters to 29 books, and written over 200 peer-reviewed papers, and has lectured in over 30 countries as well as lecturing nationally. She has been rated the top research expert in trigeminal neuralgia in the world. She is chairperson of the Medical Advisory Board and founder trustee of Trigeminal Neuralgia Association UK (patient support group.


Research interests

  • Facial pain, especially trigeminal neuralgia
  • Principal investigator in clinical trials, other studies in trigeminal neuralgia
  • Supervises PhDs
  • Contributes to national and international guidelines on trigeminal neuralgia
  • Supervised artist-in-residence programme to look at the visual language of pain
  • Member of Oral Health and Disease Board of NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre.

Languages spoken



  1. Patel,K , Godazandeh K, Wu J & Zakrzewska JM The journeys of patients with trigeminal neuralgia on a background of multiple sclerosis Pain Management 2021 : doi. 10.2217/pmt-2021-0001C
  2. Lambru, G , Zakrzewska, J, Matharu, M. Trigeminal  neuralgia: a practical guide Practical neurology 2021;
  3. Venda Nova C., Zakrzewska JM, Baker SR, Ni Riordain R Patient reported outcome measures in trigeminal neuralgia –A systematic review of psychometric performance Eurp J Pain 2021:  DOI: 10.1002/ejp.1779
  4. Daniel HC, Poole JJ, Klein H, Huang C, Zakrzewska JM Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Patients with Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Feasibility Study J Oral Facial Pain Headache . 2021 Winter;35(1):30-34. doi: 10.11607/ofph.2664
  5.  O'Callaghan L, Floden L, Vinikoor-Imler L, Symonds T, Giblin K, Hartford C, Zakrzewska JM . Burden of illness of trigeminal neuralgia among patients managed in a specialist center in England. J Headache Pain. 2020;21(1):130. Doi: 10.1186/s10194-020-01198-z
  6. Besi E, Zakrzewska JM. Trigeminal neuralgia and its variants. Management and diagnosis. Oral Surgery. 2020;13:404-14.
  7. Bendtsen L, Zakrzewska JM, Heinskou TB, M, Leal PR, Nurmikko T, Obermann M, Cruccu G, Maarbjerg S Advances in diagnosis, classification, pathophysiology, and management of trigeminal neuralgia. Lancet Neurol 2020:19 :784-96 doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30233-7.
  8. Coats RO, Crossley KL., Conlin N, Wu,J, Zakrzewska JM, Pavitt SH, Phillips N, Mon-Williams M. Cognitive and sensorimotor function in participants being treated for trigeminal neuralgia pain Journal Headache &Pain 2020: 21: 91
  9. Kotecha M, Cheshire WP, Finnigan H, Giblin K, Naik H, Palmer J, Tate S, ZakrzewskaJM  Design of Phase 3 Studies Evaluating Vixotrigine for Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia J Pain research 2020: 13: 1601-1 doi: 10.2147/JPR.S247182.
  10. Nova, C V; Zakrzewska, J M. ; Baker, S R. ; Riordain, R Treatment Outcomes in Trigeminal Neuralgia–A Systematic Review of Domains, Dimensions and Measures World Neurosurg 2020
  11. Ghiai, A; Mohamed T, Hussain M, Hayes E,  Zakrzewska JM The role of a clinical nurse specialist in managing patients with trigeminal neuralgia. Br J Pain :2019 /
  12. Zakrzewska JM Trigeminal Neuralgia Dental Update 2019: 46: 730- 737
  13. Zakrzewska JM  Why is the simple act of listening to a patient’s story of suffering so important The 2019 Charles Tomes Lecture  Faculty Dental J 2019: 10 : 3 90-93 DOI :10.1308/rcsfdj.2019.90
  14. Awal DH, Amin K, Venda-Nova C, Naqvi A, Zakrzewska J. The specialist management of non-temporomandibular orofacial pain: maxillofacial surgery's known unknown? Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2019 57:749-754. doi: 10.1016/j.bjoms.2019.06.024.
  15. Godazandeh K, Martinez Sosa S, Wu J, Zakrzewska JM. Trigeminal neuralgia: Comparison of characteristics and impact in patients with or without multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2019 Jun 17;34:41-46. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2019.06.015.
  16. Moore D, Chong MS, Shetty A, Zakrzewska JM. A systematic review of rescue analgesic strategies in acute exacerbations of primary trigeminal neuralgia. Br J Anaesth. 2019 Jun 14. pii: S0007-0912(19)30430-1. doi: 10.1016/j.bja.2019.05.026
  17. Bendtsen L, Zakrzewska JM, Abbott J, Braschinsky M, Di Stefano G, Donnet A, Eide PK, Leal PRL, Maarbjerg S, May A, Nurmikko T, Obermann M, Jensen TS, Cruccu G. EAN guideline on trigeminal neuralgia. Eur J Neurol. 2019 Mar 12. doi: 10.1111/ene.13950
  18. Zakrzewska JM, Ferguson A. Padfield D Visual imagery, a tool to explore the impact of burning mouth syndrome  J Oral Facial Pain & Headache 2019 Winter;33(1):e8-e14. doi: 10.11607/ofph.2095
  19. Jafree,D and Zakrzewska J.M.  Long-term pain relief at five years after medical, repeat surgical procedures or no management for recurrence of trigeminal neuralgia after microvascular decompression: analysis of a historical cohort Br J Neurosurg 2018 Nov 19:1-6. doi: 10.1080/02688697.2018.1538484.
  20. Zakrzewska,JM ; Palmer J. ;Bendtsen L; Di Stefano G.; Ettlin DA ; Maarbjerg S; Obermann M ; Morisset V; Steiner D; Tate S. ; Cruccu G. Challenges recruiting to a proof-of-concept pharmaceutical trial in a rare disease: the trigeminal neuralgia experience Trials 2018 Dec 27;19(1):704. doi: 10.1186/s13063-018-3045-1.
  21. Jafree DJ, Zakrzewska JM, Bhatia S, Venda Nova C Accuracy of the painDETECT screening questionnaire for detection of neuropathic components in hospital-based patients with orofacial pain: a prospective cohort study. J Headache Pain. 2018 Nov 6;19(1):103. doi: 10.1186/s10194-018-0932-5.
  22. Padfield D, Omand H, Semino E, Williams ACC, Zakrzewska JM. Images as catalysts for meaning-making in medical pain encounters: a multidisciplinary analysis. Med Humanit. 2018 Jun 12. pii: medhum-2017-011415. doi: 10.1136/medhum-2017-011415
  23. Symonds T, Randall JA, Hoffman DL, Zakrzewska JM, Gehringer W, Lee JY Measuring the impact of trigeminal neuralgia pain: the Penn Facial Pain Scale-Revised. J Pain Res. 2018 Jun 5;11:1067-1073. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S152958. eCollection 2018.
  24. Zakrzewska JM, Wu N, Lee JYK, Werneburg B, Hoffman D, Liu Y. Characterizing Treatment Utilization Patterns for Trigeminal Neuralgia in the United States. Clin J Pain. 2018:34:691-699. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000595.
  25. Tentolouris-Piperas, Lee G, Reading J, O’Keefe A.G. Zakrzewska JM, Cregg R.Adverse effects of antiepileptics in trigeminal neuralgiform pain  Acta Neurolo Scand  2018 Jun;137(6):566-574. DOI: 10.1111/ane.12901
  26. Jafree DJ, Williams AC, Zakrzewska JM Impact of pain and postoperative complications on patient-reported outcome measures 5 years after microvascular decompression or partial sensory rhizotomy for trigeminal neuralgia. Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2018 Jan;160(1):125-134. doi: 10.1007/s00701-017-3350-6
  27. Zakrzewska JM, Wu J, S-L Brathwaite T. A systematic review of the management of trigeminal neuralgia in patients with multiple sclerosis. World Neurosurg. 2017 Dec 30. pii: S1878-8750(17)32263-5. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.12.147.
  28. Ashton-James CE Dekker PH, Judy Addai-Davis, Chadwick T, Zakrzewska JM, Padfield D and C de C Williams A Can images of pain enhance patient–clinician rapport in pain consultations? Br J Pain 2017:DOI: 10.1177/2049463717717125
  29. Semino E, Zakrzewska JM, Williams A Images and the dynamics of pain consultations The Lancet 2017, 389:1186-1187 DOI:
  30. Padfield D and Zakrzewska JM Encountering Pain The Lancet 2017: 389: 117-1178 DOI:
  31. Zakrzewska JM, Palmer J, Morisset V, Giblin GMP, Obermann M, Ettlin DA, Cruccu C, Bendtsen  L, Estacion M, Derjean D, Waxman SG, Layton G,  Gunn K, and Tate S. Safety and efficacy of a Nav1.7-selective sodium channel blocker, in trigeminal neuralgia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised withdrawal phase 2a trial, Lancet Neurology 2017 Feb 16. pii: S1474-4422(17)30005-4. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(17)30005-4.
  32. Zakrzewska JM, Wu J Mon Williams M ,Phillips N. Pavitt SH Evaluating the impact of trigeminal neuralgia.Pain 2017 , 158: 1166-1174 . doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000853. 
  33. Zakrzewska J.M. and Jenson T. History of facial pain diagnosis Cephalalgia 2017: 37: 604-608  doi: 10.1177/0333102417691045.
  34. McMillan R, Forssell H, Buchanan JAG, Glenny AM, Weldon JC, Zakrzewska JM. Interventions for treating burning mouth syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD002779. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002779.pub3.
  35. Cruccu G, Finnerup NB, Jensen TS, Scholz J, Sindou M, Svensson P, Treede, RD Zakrzewska JM , and Nurmikko T.  Trigeminal neuralgia: new classification and diagnostic grading for practice and research Neurology 2016:87:1-9
  36. Lang M, Selvadurai T. Zakrzewska JM Referrals to a facial pain service Br Dent J 2016:220:345-348
  37. Zakrzewska J, Buchanan JAG. Burning mouth syndrome. Systematic review 1301. BMJ Clinical Evidence. 2016;01:1301
  38. Allsop MJ, Twiddy M, Grant H, Czoski-Murray C, Mon-Williams M, Mushtaq F, Phillips N, Zakrzewska JM, Pavitt S. Diagnosis, medication, and surgical management for patients with trigeminal neuralgia: a qualitative study. Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2015  Nov;157(11):1925-33. doi: 10.1007/s00701-015-2515-4
  39. Besi E. , Cregg R, Boniface D, Zakrzewska JM Comparison of tolerability and adverse symptoms in oxcarbazepine and carbamazepine in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia and neuralgiform headaches using the Liverpool Adverse Events Profile (AEP). J Headache Pain. 2015 Dec;16(1):563. doi: 10.1186/s10194-015-0563-z. Epub 2015 Sep 3.
  40. Zakrzewska JM. Trigeminal neuralgia : unilateral episodic facial pain J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2015:29:182-184
  41. Padfield D, Zakrzewska JM, Williams A C de C Do photographic images of pain improve communication in the pain consultation? Pain Res Manag 2015:20(3) :123-128
  42. Durham J, Newton-John TRO, Zakrzewska JM Temporomandibular disorders  BMJ 2015: 350:h1154
  43. Zakrzewska JM, Linskey ME Summaries of BMJ Clinical Evidence Trigeminal Neuralgia 2015;350:h1238; BMJ 2015350:h1238 doi:
  44. Brailo V, Zakrzewska JM Grading the intensity of non-dental orofacial pain - identification of cut off points for mild, moderate and severe pain J Pain Research  2015 :8:95-104
  45. Zakrzewska JM Temporomandibular disorders, headaches and chronic pain. J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2015 Mar;29(1):61-3; discussion 63. doi: 10.3109/15360288.2014.1003678. Epub 2015 Feb 2.
  46. Durham J, Zakrzewska J.M. Temporomandibular disorders (TMDS): a common musculoskeletal pain in the face. Clin Focus Prim Care 2014: 8 (3): 124-127
  47. Zakrzewska JM, Linskey ME. Trigeminal Neuralgia Clin Evid (Online). 2014 Oct 6;2014. pii: 1207
  48. Bonathan CJ, Zakrzewska JM, Love J, Williams ACdeC Beliefs and distress about orofacial pain: patient journey through a specialist pain consultation J Oral Facial Pain Headache 2014;28:223-232 
  49. Zakrzewska JM , Padfield D The patient’s journey through trigeminal neuralgia Pain Clin Update 2014: 22:1: 1-7
  50. Zakrzewska JM , Linskey M Trigeminal Neuralgia BMJ 2014 : 348:26- 30; g474 doi:10.1136/bmj.g474