Head & Face Pain

Head and face pain

Head and facial pain include pain in any area of the face like eyes, mouth, head, teeth, and jaw. About 90% of adults face it at some point in their life. Face and head pain can be due to mild reason like discomfort or tension headache, but it can also be agonising based on patient report. Pain can start suddenly or slowly and can be felt in any small area like the back of the head, or over a wide area of the face or head. Sometimes it is short term and lasts just a few days, or in some cases, it can last for years, depending on the underlying cause of the pain. 

There are many causes of head and face pain. Some significant causes include oral infections, facial injury, nerve disorders, face rash, migraine, skin abscess, sinusitis, ulcers, musculoskeletal problem, or toothache.

Symptoms 

Symptoms of the face and head pain vary from person to person, depending on the condition. Some common symptoms include;

  • Stabbing sensation in the head
  • Sharp, throbbing pain or deep ache
  • Severe facial or dental pain
  • The feeling of Tingling, numbness, pins or needles 
  • Aching pain across the cheekbones
  • Pain underneath eyes, ears or orofacial region
  • Burning sensation in the tongue, lips, and gums
  • Stiffness in jaw muscle
  • Swelling in the face

Treatment Options

Treatment

Treatment of face and head pain depends on its severity. Non-surgical treatments are always the first option, but if they don’t work, you have to move towards a surgical remedy.

Non-surgical treatment

Non-surgical treatments are always preferred over surgical, and they are the first option in the treatment of head and face pain. Non-surgical treatment options may include;

Exercise/therapy- exercise, physical therapy, and facial massage helps to relieve the pain. 

Medications – Anti-spasm and anti-inflammatory medication – which includes muscle relaxants or nerve pain medications – are provided for pain relief. You can also use Ibuprofen and naproxen.

Injections – Several injections can be used to diagnose, treat, and manage chronic pain caused by muscle or nerve pathologies. Botox injections are also considered for pain relief

Spinal stimulation – In this treatment, electrical signals are sent to the spinal cord to block pain

Surgical treatment

Surgical treatment is performed in case of significant injury or severe medical conditions. Common surgical treatments include;

Vascular decompression – Neurosurgeons can perform microvascular decompression for some form of trigeminal neuralgia 

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) – In this procedure, specialised equipment is used to target joint, or nerve pain. Needles are directly placed on the pain-causing nerve to provide the heat (in the form of radioactive waves) to the nerve. It is the best technique for long-lasting pain relief.  

Tumour excision surgery – Facial pain or headaches caused by tumours is often treated surgically. The goal is to reduce the tumour size and decrease the pressure on the affected tissues. 

Dr Ayman Eissa
MBBCh, MSc, MD, FRCA, FMFPRCA

Ayman is a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and is also a specialist in the management of chronic pain in adults.

01709 464200

enquiries@kinvarahospital.co.uk 

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