Facial Pain

Facial Pain

Facial pain can be an extremely distressing condition for the sufferer. There are many causes of facial pain. Dr Poate has considerable expertise in the diagnosis and management of patients with facial pain running two clinics each week specifically for patients with facial pain.

The main facial pain conditions treated by Dr Poate are

Persistent idiopathic facial pain is a chronic condition in which the patient has a constant deep ache, burning or throbbing sensation in the face. The cause is unknown. This type of facial pain does not usually respond to common painkillers and is difficult to treat. Diagnosing this condition involves excluding other causes of pain such as the teeth, jaws and sinuses. Xrays are often needed to help exclude other causes for the pain. Treatment is usually directed at reducing the severity of the pain and may involve drugs or psychological treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

Trigeminal neuralgia causes sudden episodes of very severe, sharp, stabbing pain in the face which may be triggered by lightly touching the face or by the wind on the face. The attacks of pain typically last a few seconds to a few minutes but may occur several times a day. Remissions may occur during which the pain is not experienced for several months or years. This condition may be caused by a blood vessel rubbing on the trigeminal nerve which supplies sensation to the face. Occasionally trigeminal neuralgia may be due to multiple sclerosis or a brain tumour. This condition is diagnosed by the history of the pain. Xrays of the teeth or jaw may be suggested to exclude other causes of the pain. An MRI scan may be arranged to investigate whether there is a blood vessel rubbing on the nerve and to exclude multiple sclerosis or a brain tumour. Often anti-epileptic drugs are prescribed to control this pain. Sometimes other drugs may be used. In some cases surgery may also discussed, particularly when the MRI has shown there to be a blood vessel rubbing on the nerve.

Trigeminal Nerves