Treating Facial Pain
Eliminate Your Face Pain: Atypical Facial Pain and Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal Neuralgia or Tic Douloureux, as it is sometimes called, is characterized by excruciatingly painful electric shocks to the face. These bursts typically last approximately twenty seconds and are among the worst pains known to humankind.
In certain cases, this condition may be a result of an injury or a dysfunction involving a muscle or tendon and their related nerves. Our treatment approach is comparable to the treatment for other muscle and tendon related problems. Click here for a description.
Trigeminal Neuralgia can also result from dysfunctions involving the brain, blood vessels, or groups of nerve cells called ganglia. If we believe that one of these is the cause of the problem, we refer the patient to the appropriate specialists who commonly employ medications and/or a variety of surgical procedures.
Atypical Facial Pain (ATFP) is a catchall term which includes a large group of facial pain conditions. It can include aching, cramping, burning, pressure, and pulling sensations. In certain cases, it can extend to the side of the neck or behind the ear. Although rarely as severe as the electric shocks which characterize trigeminal neuralgia (TN), ATFP patients typically experience pain for much longer periods of time, sometimes lasting many years. In some cases, ATFP is an early form of trigeminal neuralgia. Some patients have components of TN as well as ATFP. The previous belief that ATFP was due to “psychological” problems has been proven incorrect.
There are many possible causes for ATFP which, in part, include:
- Sinus infections
- Dental decay or infections
- Neuralgia Inducing Cavitational Osteonecrosis (also called N.I.C.O., non-suppurative osteomyelitis, cavitations, Ratner’s lesions, etc.)
- Stylomandibular ligament sprains (Ernest Syndrome)
- Temporal Tendonitis
- Temporomandibular Joint Injuries, Arthritis, and other dysfunctions
- Myofascial trigger points affecting numerous muscles including the masseter, pterygoids, sternocleidomastoid, etc.
- Trigeminal Neuropathy
- Diseases and disorders of the cervical spine.
- Bisphosphinate Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ)
- Tumors affecting the Vagus Nerve in the region of the lung or esophagus
Some believe that vascular compression of the trigeminal ganglia in the same area that is believed to cause certain types of trigeminal neuralgia can also cause ATFP. However, microvascular decompression (brain surgery) rarely leads to pain relief in ATFP patients.
As stated elsewhere, over 90% of our patient report that pain is gone at discharge.
Please click here for information regarding other sources of pain in the face and jaw.
To see more statements from patients who were treated for face pain,
please click here.