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Chronic Fascial Pain

Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator; C. Carl Jaffe, MD, cardiologist.

If you are a person who has dealt with severe Facial Pain, you know how debilitating it can be.  There are many different reasons that people get Face Pain.  These can range from the simple and mundane to the severe and complex.  The bottom line is that Face Pain, like other forms of pain, can potentially be debilitating.  Follow along as I take you on a short journey into the various reasons that people get Facial Pain.
  • TMJ / TMD / TMJD:  The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the “jaw hinge”.  You can find the TMJ by putting your finger just in front of your ear and opening and closing your mouth.  When problems are present, there can be pain around the joint itself or in the muscles of the face that involve chewing (the jaw muscle or masseter, and the temporalis or temple muscle are the chief culprits). 

  • SINUS PROBLEMS / ALLERGIES:  If you have a CHRONIC SINUS ISSUE, it can cause Chronic Face Pain.  Usually this pain is going to be felt over the area of the sinuses (just over and under the eyes).

  • DENTAL ISSUES:  Dental problems are a common cause of Chronic Face Pain.  It is not uncommon for people to have longstanding sub-clinical infections associated with root canals and other complex dental procedures. 

  • POST-HERPETIC NEURALGIA DUE TO SHINGLES:  It is not terribly uncommon that SHINGLES can lead to chronic nerve pain.

  • CLUSTER HEADACHES / MIGRAINE HEADACHES:  Although these are technically two different classes of headaches, they can both cause Chronic Facial Pain.  HERE is some more information.

  • TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA:  This is a problem with the fifth Cranial Nerve (the trigeminal). Be aware that Trigeminal Neuralgia (aka Tic Deouloureux or “Suicide Disease”) is terrible. Medscape describes Trigmenial Neuralgia this way, Brief paroxysms of “electric shock-like” pain in one or more divisions of the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve V). This condition manifests in “machine-gun-like” volleys lasting a few seconds to a minute, recurring frequently for weeks.

  • OTHERS:  Chronic Facial Pain can come from EENT (Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat issues), cellulitis, erysipelas, mastoiditis, vascular issues, cysts, MS, Parkinson’s, Seizure Disorders, after-effects of strokes, tumors, and even upper-lobe lung cancer.  In fact, it almost seems like the list of potential causes of Chronic Facial Pain are endless.

  • SCAR TISSUE:  Although no one ever seems to talk much about this one, it may very well be the most common.  The primary causes of Scar Tissue-induced Chronic Facial Pain are MVA, SPORTS INJURIES, and physical abuse — I have seen many cases of each.  A couple of years ago I saw a woman who was in the back seat of a car that went head-on with another at almost 100 mph.  She had over two decades of Chronic Pain related to this incident —- as well a huge amounts of FASCIAL ADHESIONS in the area of her face.  Like I said, SCAR TISSUE as the cause of Chronic Facial Pain is more common than people would be led to believe.

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