What is facial pain?

The face contains your eyes, eyebrows, forehead, nose, cheeks, mouth, teeth and chin. To facilitate expression and movement, the face relies on a complex network of nerves that supply energy to its numerous muscles. The face also contains blood vessels and glands, as well as bones that hold its structure in place. Your special senses, such as hearing, smell, taste and vision, are channeled through the structures of 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.

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 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.

Related symptoms that may occur along with facial pain

Facial pain may accompany other symptoms in the head and neck region including:

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 m... Read more about facial paincauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 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