We’ve all heard someone say their head hurts, and most everyone has experienced a headache. But what about face pain? That is very different.
If your face hurts, you are likely experiencing orofacial pain. Orofacial pain is not a disease, but a condition that refers to pain in the face, jaw, or mouth that can be caused by a number of issues ranging from minor to serious.
Orofacial pain is not a headache and often feels quite different, but the two issues can be related. Here are 5 possible causes for facial pain:
- A temporomandibular disorder (TMD). TMD is a painful condition that can cause ongoing facial pain, among other symptoms. In fact, research shows it’s the most common facial pain condition for which people seek treatment. TMD is often caused by a problem with the temporomandibular joint, otherwise known as the jaw joint or the TMJ. The muscles, tendons, and bones of the TMJ must work together to allow you to chew, eat, and even breathe properly. If one of the components of the TMJ is out of place, becomes inflamed, or has another issue, TMD may result. But TMD can cause much more than just facial pain. It can also cause jaw pain and popping, headaches, trouble eating, neck and back pain, sleep problems, and even seemingly unrelated symptoms such as earaches and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.
- You have facial migraines. Migraine headaches can be debilitating, with problems like excruciating head pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light. But some migraines can manifest as facial pain, which can be difficult to diagnose. Fortunately, facial migraines often respond well to migraine treatment medications. If migraine headaches run in your family or you have symptoms of migraines, such as seeing an aura before the facial pain occurs, talk to a medical professional to get proper diagnosis and treatment.
- You have trigeminal neuralgia. The trigeminal nerve sends signals from the brain to the forehead, cheek, or jaw area. If this nerve becomes inflamed, a condition called trigeminal neuralgia may result. Trigeminal neuralgia causes intense pain that may be triggered by even the lightest touch to the face. People who have trigeminal neuralgia may find that they go days or even weeks without pain, and then the pain flares up again. Doctors can use a variety of treatments to manage the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia, including medication, injections, or sometimes surgery.
- You’ve been injured or in an accident. Even minor bumps and bruises can cause misalignment of the jaw, which can lead to TMD and ongoing facial pain. Car accidents, sports injuries, or even just a trip and fall can cause problems with the TMJ that last for months or even years without treatment.
- You aren’t sleeping well. Various studies show that lack of sleep can diminish a person’s ability to deal with pain. Being physically tired can also raise stress levels, which triggers TMD symptoms and may lead to other problems such as teeth grinding at night. TMD can make it difficult to sleep due to facial pain, so the cycle perpetuates itself.
What You Can Do About Face Pain
The most important step in treating any facial pain is finding the cause of it, but this is not always easy. That’s why it’s important to see trained professionals who are experienced in treating orofacial pain like us at Pasadena Pain Management.
Diagnosing the cause of orofacial pain may involve a discussion of your symptoms, an exam, evaluation of lifestyle and diet, and specialized medical tests. If you do have an issue such as facial migraines or trigeminal neuralgia, contacting us at Pasadena Pain Management is the best way to get on the path to wellness.
If you have any symptoms of TMD, such as facial pain, headaches, jaw locking or popping, trouble chewing, or earaches, don’t ignore them. TMD is a complex condition that can be caused by many things other than just grinding your teeth at night.
Southern California Treatment Migraines, Headaches, TMJ/TMD
Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.