Overview of Facial Pain Treatment in New Jersey

 

facial pain2Facial pain can occur from a number of causes, and the pain can be dull and throbbing, sharp and shooting, or achy and constant. Pain of the face is often related to a nerve condition, injury, or infection, or it could arise from another part of the body, such as the shoulder or neck.

Common Causes of Facial Pain

  • Abscessed tooth – This causes a throbbing pain on one side of the lower face, and the pain worsens with chewing or touching.

 

  • Cluster headache – This type of headache occurs more often in men, and attacks of headache episodes occur in clusters.

 

  • Migraine headache – Often preceded by aura, a migraine headache is usually worse around the eye, and associated symptoms of nausea and vomiting are common.

 

  • Trigeminal neuralgia – This is a chronic condition involving the trigeminal nerve. With TN, the patient has intense pain in one area or all of the face, which is brought on by mild stimulation, such as touching or chewing. The pain can be mild or intense, and over time, the patient has longer and more frequent attacks of pain.

 

  • Myofascial pain syndrome – This syndrome is a chronic disorder that involves pressure on sensitive points of the muscles, called trigger points. The pressure leads to pain, which is often caused by repetitive motions. The pain usually occurs after a muscle is contracted over and over, which is referred to as stress-related muscle tension.

facial pain picture

  • Sinusitis – Also called a sinus infection, sinusitis leads to face pain due to sinus and nasal passage inflammation and swelling. The sinuses are located behind the nose, forehead, and cheekbones, and they produce mucus. With sinusitis, too much mucus forms, causing pressure on the bony structures of the face.

 

  • Temporal arteritis – The temporal arteries supply blood to the brain and head. With temporal arteritis, these vessels become damaged and/or inflamed. This condition is more common among older people, and it causes pain on the side of the head in the temple region.

 

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction – The TMJ connects your lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. When this joint is inflamed or injured, it can cause the jaw to move abnormally. People with TMJ dysfunction have tenderness of the jaw, which is accompanied by pain when moving the mouth.

What to Expect at the Doctor Visit

If you have persistent or recurrent facial pain, you need to be evaluated by a doctor. The doctor will take a medical history and do a physical examination. To rule out serious conditions, the doctor may order some diagnostic tests, such as:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – Because a heart attack can cause pain that radiates to the jaw and face, the doctor may do an ECG to assess the heart rhythm.

 

  • Dental x-rays – If a serious tooth problem is suspected, the doctor orders x-rays of the teeth.Occipital Nerve Block

 

  • Sinus x-rays – When there is a possibility of sinusitis, x-rays of the sinus cavities are warranted.

Treatment for Facial Pain

  • Trigger point injections – Done on an outpatient basis, trigger point injections are given to reduce and/or relieve pain of trigger points, which are seen in myofascial syndrome and other disorders. The painful knot (trigger point) is injected with a steroid and/or anesthetic.

 

  • Occipital nerve block – Nerve blocks are used for cluster and migraine headaches. With this injection, the doctor injects and anesthetic and steroid into the back region of the head, targeting the occipital nerves.

 

  • Sphenopalatine ganglion block – For some types of facial pain, a sphenopalatine ganglion block is helpful. With this procedure, the doctor passes a tiny catheter through the nose to target the nerves at the base of the brain in the throat. The area is injected with an anesthetic to help with pain.