What is facial pain?

Your face is a central sensory organ located on the front surface of the head. The face contains your eyes, eyebrows, forehead, nose, cheeks, mouth, teeth and chin. To facilitate expression and movement, the face comprises a large network of nerves that supply energy to these muscles and actions, as well as bones that hold its structure in place. Your senses, such as hearing, smell, taste and vision, are also channeled through the face. Facial pain may include injuries to the nerves or bones that coordinate many of your face’s actions. These injuries may include trauma to the face and upper maxillary bone (jaw bone) caused by a car accident, physical violence, or sports injury. Such injuries may cause a loss of sensation in the face, difficulties with breathing, swelling, blurred or double vision, facial deformities, and difficulties eating and drinking.

Facial Problems Spotlight

Sometimes facial pain is not trauma induced, but caused by a malfunctioning of the nerves that govern the face’s movement. The trigeminal nerve relays messages between your brain and sensory organs, providing information about face and scalp sensation (ophthalmic), the mouth and nose (maxillary), and chewing (mandibular). Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition manifesting with extreme facial pain that can feel like burning or an electric shock. The pain is severe enough that daily activities, such as chewing, eating, or teeth brushing, can be agonizing.

Other neurologic causes of facial pain include Bell’s palsy and Parkinson’s disease. Bell’s palsy produces numbness and paralysis on one side of the face. Facial symptoms from Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurologic condition, include facial tremors or twitches and a paralysis of the facial muscles that causes a rigid, mask-like appearance.

Allergies or infections that cause inflammation of the sinuses can produce facial pain. Facial pain can also be caused by sinusitis, an inflammation the sinuses, the air-filled pockets in the nasal passages, cheeks, forehead, and eyes. When your sinuses become clogged with excess mucus that cannot be drained, bacteria and other pathogens fill up your sinuses, causing pain and congestion.

Facial pain that was triggered by trauma should receive immediate medical attention. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you suffered trauma to the head and face and are experiencing symptoms of lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, double vision, or loss of consciousness.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with facial pain?

Facial pain may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.... Read more about facial painsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes facial pain?

Facial pain may include injuries to the nerves or bones that coordinate many facial actions. These injuries may include trauma to the face and upper maxillary bone (jaw bone) caused by a car accident, physical violence, or sports injury. Sometimes facial pain is not trauma induced but caused by a malfunctioning of the nerves that govern the face’s movement. Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition manifesting with extreme facial pain that can feel like burning or an electric shock. The pain is severe enough that daily activities, such as chewing, eating, or teeth brushing, can be agonizing.... Read more about facial paincauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves, Injuries and Wounds