FAQ’s on Facial Pain
Facial Pain refers to an acute discomfort that occurs in only one area of the face. This area can be located in either one or both sides of an individual’s face or forehead, or be located along the jaw if related to a jaw complication. This ache can be dull and tender, occurring as a throbbing sensation, or it can also be severe and feel like a burning wound.
This disorder can also become a chronic problem for a patient, which is the usual occurrence in many people when the pain is not addressed properly. Pain that normally starts in the facial area may be as a result of an infection in the facial structure, an injury, or nerve malfunction.
The possible causes of facial pain
There are numerous possible causes of this kind of Pain. Many of these causes will produce an inflammatory response, leading to swelling and excess pressure on one or more sensitive areas of the face. One cause is an abscessed tooth which primarily refers to an incessant severe pain that occurs on one side of the face intensified by eating, chewing or touching.
Other causes of facial pain include:
- Sinusitis or sinus infection
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Migraine and cluster headache.
Facial pain Symptoms
The symptoms experienced by the patient will change based on the location and cause of the facial Pain. Some of the notable symptoms are pain in the ears and the surrounding areas, neck pain, headaches, popping noises especially when closing and opening the mouth, softness of the jaw, and pangs of pain when speaking, chewing, or swallowing among others.
The intensity of the symptoms varies from one individual to another and will change in levels depending on the cause of the pain. Some symptoms are easy to notice as they occur immediately while others take relatively longer to be noticed as they develop in severity over time.
It is possible that the root cause of pain can affect other areas of the body as well. For example, if pain is being caused by the compression of one or more cervical nerves, then it is possible for symptoms to appear elsewhere in addition to the facial pain. Namely, a numbness or weakness may be felt in the shoulders or arms. There may also be a loss of movement of the head. It is extremely important for those patients with symptoms in places other than to face to seek an accurate diagnosis immediately.
Diagnosis of facial pain
It is advisable that you contact a Dallas pain doctor when you start to experience some of the above mentioned symptoms. During diagnosis, you will be asked several questions such as the recurrence of the pain, whether the pain is felt on one or both sides of the face, and the intensity of the pain, and to recount the events leading up to the pain among other questions. Other diagnostic examinations such as X-rays of the sinuses and dentals, tonometry, and other tests may be performed if warranted.
Treatment options of facial pain
The treatments available to a patient will depend on the source, location, intensity, and recurrence of the pain. Those patients who are having pain related directly to a physical occurrence, such as an injury, will normally be required to seek treatment for that injury in order to obtain relief.
Pain stemming from dental complications can be cured by having the necessary dental work performed. Medication is normally prescribed to the patient as well, with the common ones being painkillers for pain, anti-inflammatories to help reduce facial swelling, and antibiotics for those patients who have Pain caused by an infection.
Treatment options include:
- Pain Medications: NSAIDs, Tylenol, short term narcotics.
- Neurogenic medications – Lyrica or Neurontin may be able to mitigate pain.
- Anticonvulsant medications – carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol, others), Trileptal, Klonopin and Neurontin have been shown to be effective for trigeminal neuralgia.
- Injections – Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks may help with TMJ, RSD, Cluster Headaches and other conditions. Supraorbital and Supratrochlear block may help with certain types of facial pain.
- Radiofrequency procedures may help and possibly spinal cord stimulation.