FAQs on Facial Pain and Treatment Options

What is facial pain?

Facial pain is characterized by a sharp stabbing pain underneath the eyebrows or the supraorbital rims, extending along the course of one or more trigeminal dermatomes (Sharav nd Benoliel, facial pain22008). This pain can either be intermittent or constant. . If this pain is not treated at an early stage it can escalate and may develop into a chronic condtion.. Therefore, it is necessary to seek medical attention immediately if the facial pain you are having persists for more than two days.

What causes facial pain?

Facial pain can be caused by a number of reasons.It may be a simple case of an infection or it can be caused by a dysfunction of a nerve sinus. In the case of a dysfunctional nerve, the pain may be caused by a condition known as trigeminal neuralgia. Another possible cause of facial pain can be sinusitis which is an inflammation of the sinus. Abscesses in the teeth can also result in facial pain.

What are the symptoms of facial pain?

The symptoms of facial pain include a sharp pain being felt by the patient in the jaw bone or the sides of the face or the forehead. This pain is sometimes accompanied by other symptoms like redness and swelling. The symptoms of facial pain caused by a nerve disorder such as trigeminal neuralgia are different and are characterized by severe burning pain in the branches of the trigeminal nerve. Localized throbbing pain around a single tooth is frequently an indication of an underlying abscess.

How is facial pain diagnosed?

The diagnosis of facial pain is generally made by a combination of patient complaints, physical exam findings, lab findings and radiological data. According to Burchiel (2002) patients with facial pain should be evaluated with high resolution radiological studies such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and CT scans of the head. . In cases where the reason for the facial pain cannot be Trigeminal Neuralgia Radiofrequencydiagnosed even after the use of MRI and CT scans, methods like Sialography and fine needle aspiration are utilized.

What are the Treatment Options for facial pain?

The first line of treatment for facial pains is usually the administration of pain medications in combination with physical therapy and topical compounded creams. If the pain persists and cannot be controlled with medications, then other treatment options are explored. The most common treatment method used for reducing the pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia is the administration of a nerve blocking agent. If the pain does not subside then other modes of treatment like gamma knife therapy are utilized.

What is the Bottom Line with facial pain?

Facial pain is a very common condition. . The best way of avoiding chronic pain from this condition is to seek medical attention quickly so that the cause of the pain can be identified and proper treatment initiated.

Resources

Sharav, Yair and Benoliel, Rafael, Orofacial Pain and Headache, Philadelphia: Mosby, 2008.

Burchiel, J. Kim, Surgical Management of Pain, Thieme Medical Publishers: New York, 2002: 319-320.