The Puzzle of Face Pain

Although not as common as headache, face pain is quite frequent. In addition, it’s often associated with headache, including migraine. Trigeminal neuralgia is by far the best known face pain condition. However, it’s very rare and occurs mostly in the elderly. Its hallmark is severe stabbing pain in one side of the face. It’s important to know that stabbing pain in the face can also have other causes. These other causes are much more common than trigeminal neuralgia. The most frequent cause of stabbing face pain is, in fact, spasm of the jaw muscle. It can be treated very easily with heat applied to the muscle. However, for this very simple treatment to be effective, it has to be done daily. It’s even better if the heat is applied several times a day. Massage therapy or physical therapy can also be helpful. A medical treatment of this condition is with Botox®, injected into the muscle to relax it. An effective dental treatment can be with an appliance worn at night.

The face pain caused by jaw muscle spasm does not have to be stabbing. It can also be constant, with or without stabbing on top. This is very often the case when it affects both sides of the face. The treatment is the same as described above, with heat, massage, etc. Constant pain around the nose comes out of the sinuses. However, the culprit lies in a congested nose, generally from allergies. The congestion closes off the openings to the sinuses. As a result, the air in the sinuses is absorbed, creating a vacuum, and pressure in the face ensues. A nasal spray provides relief here. The nasal spray can contain saline or a decongestant, anti-allergy, or corticosteroid medication. If the face pain is just on one side of the nose, it tends to be severe. Also here, the cause is in the nose but due to an extra piece of bone, called spur. The spur comes off the septum that divides the nose in two. It becomes a problem when it sticks into a swell body on the side of the nose. The resulting pain can be excruciating: it’s like having a splinter in the nose! An ENT surgeon needs to be consulted here to obtain relief.

For more information about face pain, its diagnosis and treatment, send us an email through our website.