Facial pain is the pain felt in the forehead or in one or both sides of the face. The pain may be dull, throbbing, or more intense depending on what causes it. In most cases, the pain is normally caused by an injury, a nerve disorder, or an infection in the face structure.
Similarly, the pain may also occur for no substantial reason, and in such cases, it is normally difficult even for health professionals to diagnose the ultimate cause of the pain.
What are the causes of facial pain?
Facial pain can be triggered by several factors as listed below:
Abscessed tooth: This is a condition whereby the tooth may be surrounded an inflammation and pus. This pain is normally experienced on the lower side of the face, and in most cases aggravated during eating or when touched.
Trauma to the face
Trigeminal Neuralgia: Also referred to as tic duoloureux. It is a condition that is linked with shooting and breaking pains in the face. It normally occurs when the trigeminal nerve is pressed by a blood vessel near the brain stem, which in turn sends impulses of pressure, touch, and pain to the brain.
Sinus infection or inflammation
Herpes zoster and herpes simplex infection
Lung cancer and tumors.
What is the treatment for facial pain?
The treatment for facial pain depends on the cause of the condition. For instance, the pain caused by an infection, such as sinusitis, can easily be treated by antibiotics or leaving the infection to heal by itself.
Facial pain triggered by a viral infection like herpes zoster will simply go away without a major treatment within a week or after a few days. However, the affected person may shorten the healing duration by taking prescribed anti-viral medication such as acyclovir or valacyclovir.
Trigeminal neuralgia, on the other hand, can be treated by anti-seizure drugs like Neurontin or Tigretol. In addition, the pain may also be suppressed by anti-depressant drugs or other medications like Depakote and Klonopin. Treatment with a San Antonio pain management doctor can help with pain relief including a trigeminal nerve injection.
If the trigeminal nerve injection works well and then wears off, a radiofrequency neurotomy may be successfully performed. This is also referred to as a radiofrequency rhizotomy.
If the pain is spurred by a dental condition, then a dentist can cure the pain by performing a tooth extraction or a root canal.
If the pain is caused by a headache, a head injury or migraine, then it may be relieved using over-the-counter painkillers. If the pain is resistant to the drugs, then the patient will have to go to a doctor for stronger pain relief medication.
How do doctors diagnose the cause of facial pain?
In emergency conditions, the patient is first stabilized before being physically examined. The medical history of the patient is then taken by the health care provider, who will also proceed with a series of questions such as:
Which part of the face is hurting?
Is the pain on one side of the face or both?
Did the pain start suddenly?
Does the pain worsen when speaking, swallowing or chewing?
These will help the doctor to diagnose the exact cause of the condition. Other diagnostic tests may include:
A dental X-ray
ECG, if the doctor suspects a heart problem
Tonometry, if the doctor suspects glaucoma
X-ray of the sinuses
A neurological test, if the doctor suspects nerve damage
Once the source of the facial pain is identified, the physician and the patient will work towards a treatment plan and/or the successful and effective elimination of pain symptoms.
If you or a loved one is suffering from Facial Pain and would like relief, contact Texas Pain Network today. The practice has a Double Board Certified pain management doctor accepting over 50 insurance plans at multiple locations.
Call (210) 202-4030 for more information and scheduling!