Dr. Nick Scott discusses Chronic Facial Pain. Watch this video and learn about symptoms and treatments for Chronic Facial Pain.
Pain Doctor Nick Scott Talks About Chronic Facial Pain.
Chronic Facial pain is used to describe any pain felt in the face or neck area and is commonly caused by problems with a person’s jaw, such as repeated clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth, or a misaligned bite. Disorders of the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, frequently cause significant facial muscle pain. A TMJ is located on either side of your mouth and connects the mandible, or your lower jaw, to your skull in both places. Surrounding the TMJ are facial muscles, nerves and blood vessels which can be affected by any injury or disorder of the joint.
Chronic Facial Pain Symptoms and Treatments
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ disorders, with the condition occurring more frequently in women than in men. Results from a study called Orofacial Pain: Prospective Evaluation and Risk Assessment (OPPERA) indicated that the risk for chronic TMJ disorders peaks in a woman’s childbearing years and decreases thereafter.
Symptoms of a TMJ disorder may include pain or tenderness in the jaw, an aching pain around the ear, difficulty chewing, facial pain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, dizziness, hearing loss, or a locking of the joint. TMJ disorders sometimes also mean that movement of the jaw is accompanied by a clicking sound.
Diagnosis for TMJ usually involves a bite test, in which the physician asks the patient to bite down or clench the teeth and reference the areas in which pain is felt. Treatment options include biofeedback, pain killers, strength-building exercises for the facial muscles, orthodontics, reconstructive dentistry and surgical repositioning of the jaw.
Because TMJ disorders usually affect not only the bones but also the nerves and muscles, it is frequently necessary for a treatment to involve multiple health care disciplines, such as dentistry and neurology.
Other causes of chronic facial pain include cancer or other disease, headaches, injury, infection, dental diseases or damage to the mouth, and neurological disorders, such as trigeminal neuralgia, which originate with problems with the nerves and nervous system.