Only three classes of pain medications have made it into clinical use in the past 60 years despite intensive efforts and the need for nonaddictive pain treatments. One reason for the failure involves the use of animal models that lack mechanistic similarity to human pain conditions, with endpoint measurements that may not reflect the human pain experience. In this issue of the JCI, Ding, Fischer, and co-authors developed the foramen lacerum impingement of trigeminal nerve root (FLIT) model of human trigeminal neuralgia that has improved face, construct, and predictive validities over those of current models. They used the FLIT model to investigate the role that abnormal, hypersynchronous cortical activity contributed to a neuropathic pain state. Unrestrained, synchronous glutamatergic activity in the primary somatosensory cortex upper lip and jaw (S1ULp-S1J) region of the somatosensory cortex drove pain phenotypes. The model establishes a powerful tool to continue investigating the interaction between the peripheral and central nervous systems that leads to chronic pain.