Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GN) triggered by non-noxious stimuli at multiple cephalic and extracephalic sites with positron emission tomography (PET) evidence for involvement of the upper brainstem has never been reported. We present such a patient, a 73-year-old man who since the age of 50 had suffered from GN with a high recurrence rate and very severe unilateral, non-familial GN episodes with very easy trigger zones widely extending beyond the n IX territory. Extensive neuroimaging and neurophysiological tests detected no precise underlying cause. PET scan revealed activation in the upper brainstem on extracephalic triggers. Single-fibre electromyography data will be discussed. We hypothesize that deficient inhibition as seen in trigeminal nociceptive reflexes on the level of brainstem interneurons, a functional lesion in the primary somatosensory cortex-sensory thalamic nuclei circuit and the dorsal column-thalamic pathway both activated by light touch may in part be involved in the extracephalic triggering.