FAQ’s on Facial Pain
What is considered facial pain?
Facial pain is not only a generalized pain in areas of the face, but also the rest of the skull. Specific parts of the face and skull are controlled by certain nerves, and pinpointing the affected area can help doctors find which nerves or muscles groups are the source of the patient’s symptoms.
When there is an injury or genetic mutation of the spine, it can cause a series of complications resulting in facial pain that not only effect daily living, but some may become fatal if not treated. Sometimes, finding, diagnosing, and treating certain conditions of the spine can be difficult due to the variety of symptoms. Having one or two pain indicators can help steer doctors in the right direction in successful treating of facial pain.
Who can have facial pain?
The variety of causes that result in facial pain can happen to anyone, although those who are subjected to certain physical activities, genetic disorders, and predisposed gender (such as women) tend to be more susceptible.
What causes facial pain?
The most common sources of facial pain are injuries or genetic mutations that result in spinal cord compression (or an inflammation of the tissues) in the vertebrae of the neck. This condition puts pressure on the spinal cord, which the brain interprets as pain. The spine is a vital part of the human body, not only does the vertebral column hold us upright and provide extensive range of motion, but it protects the spinal cord. This very important nerve connects every nerve from our body to our brain, allowing us to move, feel, and react to every situation.
What are the symptoms of facial pain?
General pain or tenderness of a certain area of the face or head, or pain when moving the neck or jaw has been reported. Some individuals experience tingling, numbness, pain behind the eyes, or blurred vision as well as mild to severe headache.
How is it treated?
In order to relieve facial pain, doctors must first treat the underlying condition (which is usually a form of spinal cord compression). There are a variety of treatments, both surgical and non-surgical, that can help relieve the pain and other symptoms.
- Nonsurgical treatments are usually attempted first, and can be used one at a time or a combination of two or more. In the case of injuries, soft bracing collars are suggested for a short period of time to prevent further damage to the spine and vertebrae. These are not recommended for long periods of time because lack of movement of the neck for too long can cause the muscles to weaken.
- Exercises or physical therapy are also commonly suggested to help strengthen the muscles in the neck, or to prevent any further deterioration of the bones of the neck. Although some would consider a chiropractor part of this group, it is not often suggested for any injury of the cervical spine.
- Collars and therapy are usually paired with one of the following medicines: an over-the counter anti-inflammatory or an injection of a much stronger version. Any surgical treatment is usually considered last due to the risks that are involved. Spinal surgeries can include bone grafts, screws, and metal plates inserted into the cervical vertebrae to help relieve pressure and provide stability.
What are the side effects of both non-surgical and surgical treatments?
With nonsurgical treatments, there are usually no side effects, aside from potential reaction to medications. As with any surgical option, patients run the risk of general surgery complications like blood loss, reactions to medications, and chronic pain afterwards. They also may have to deal with a failure to relieve symptoms, voice changes, injury to nerves or blood vessels, and the need for more surgery if the bolts, screws, or plates become loose from more complex surgery.
Are the treatments effective?
Generally, nonsurgical treatments can help within one to two weeks with little complication afterwards. Most surgeries, however, are not always guaranteed to work, and may require additional surgeries for chronic pain.
When a Denver pain clinic doctor evaluates facial pain, it may take some time before the proper diagnosis is made. However, once it is the chances of a successful treatment are well over 50%.
If you or a loved one is suffering from significant facial pain, let Colorado Pain provide you with the best pain management Denver offers. Call today (702) 323-0553 for more information and scheduling!