What Is Face Pain?

If you’re suffering from face pain, you know how it can affect every part of your life. Struggling with this condition is difficult, but there are treatments that can help. Here’s what you should know.

You may feel pain in any region of your face, such as the:

  • Forehead
  • Nose
  • Cheeks
  • Eyes
  • Mouth

The pain is typically throbbing, sharp, or aching. Some patients describe it as a feeling of pressure and tingling in the face. Facial pain is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. In fact, it is one of the most frequent reasons that people visit outpatient clinics and emergency departments.

Injury or headaches are the typical causes of face pain; however, other conditions can also be responsible for the pain. For example, pain felt in the face can originate from another location within the body, which may be caused by a variety of potential medical conditions. Face pain caused by migraine headaches can be extremely debilitating. This type of pain usually presents as unilateral throbbing in certain areas of the face. Another cause of severe facial pain is known as trigeminal neuralgia, as we’ll discuss shortly.

Facial Pain Causes

When clinicians assess a patient for face pain, they often rely on a variety of diagnostic tests to help understand what’s causing your pain.

These tests help them discern the reason for the pain from a wide variety of potential conditions. The more common facial pain causes include:

Trigeminal neuralgia

If neuralgia is leading to facial pain, the trigeminal nerve is often involved. This nerve is responsible for controlling the communication of nerve impulses from the face to the mouth, teeth, and nasal cavity. This nerve is composed of three divisions that innervate different areas of the face. These three separate divisions include the:

  • Ophthalmic division (V-1)
  • Maxillary division (V-2)
  • Mandibular division (V-3)

Current research has revealed that approximately 45,000 people suffer from trigeminal neuralgia. Alterations in the neurological structures, due to damage or inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, lead to this severe form of pain. For those suffering from trigeminal neuralgia, blood vessels apply pressure on nerves near the base of the brain. This pain can be so debilitating that patients often are unable to perform simple daily functions, such as walking, eating, and, in some cases, talking.