Face pain

Definition

Face pain may be dull and throbbing or an intense, stabbing discomfort in the face or forehead. It can occur in one or both sides.

Causes

Pain that starts in the face may be caused by a nerve problem, injury, or infection. Face pain may also begin in other places in the body.

Sometimes the reason for the face pain is unknown.

Home Care

Your treatment will be based on the cause of your pain.

Painkillers may provide temporary relief. If the pain is severe or does not go away, call your primary health care provider or dentist.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

If you have an emergency condition (such as a possible heart attack), you will first be stabilized. Then, the provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and do a physical exam. You will be referred to a dentist for tooth problems.

You may have the following tests:

Neurological tests will be performed if nerve damage could be a problem.

References

Bartleson JD, Black DF, Swanson JW. Cranial and facial pain. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 18.

Digre KB. Headaches and other head pain. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 398.


Review Date: 8/14/2015
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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