Although facial discomfort is normally due to an injury or a headache, it may also be the result of a medical condition.
Most causes of facial discomfort are harmless. However, if you have facial pain that seems to come without any known cause, you should consult with your GP.
What causes facial discomfort?
Facial discomfort can be due to anything from an infection to nerve damage in the face. Common causes of facial pain include:
- Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing)
- Ear Infection (Otitis Media)
- Gastric Reflux
- Hearing Aids
- Hearing Loss
- Sinus Problems
- Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa)
- Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)
- Tonsils & Adenoid Problems
More serious causes of facial discomfort include:
- A migraine
- Sinusitis(sinus infection)
- A nerve disorder
- Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), which causes cold sores
What are the types of facial discomfort?
The exact type of pain you feel will depend on the cause. A dull, throbbing pain on one side of your face or around your mouth is generally due to problems within the mouth or throat, such as a toothache, cavity, or abscess. If you experience this type of pain, contact your dentist or doctor.
The pain associated with sinusitis feels like pressure or an aching pain across the front of the cheekbones and underneath the eyes. Abscesses and ulcers will often throb at the site of the sore. Then headaches and injuries can feel like a stabbing sensation or can throb and ache.
Ear pain can be a result of multiple conditions such as:
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Sudden changes in air pressure – such as during airline travel
- Smaller than average Eustachian tubes, or a blocked Eustachian tube
- Cleft palate
- Young age – babies and children are more prone to ear infections
- Swimming in polluted water
- Failing to dry the outer ear properly after swimming or bathing
- Overzealous cleaning of the ears, which can scratch the delicate tissues
How is facial pain diagnosed?
When visiting your doctor, make sure that you tell them:
- Which part of your face is hurting
- How often you feel pain
- Exactly where the pain is coming from
- What kind of pain you feel
- How long the pain lasts
- What relieves the pain
- Any other symptoms experienced
Your doctor may order an imaging test, such as an X-ray or MRI scan to make a diagnosis. These imaging tests are useful in diagnosing problems within the bones, muscles, and tissue. Your doctor can also use an X-ray to check the sinuses.
Your doctor may take a blood sample to test for certain infections. This is a procedure with minimal pain that involves drawing blood from your arm.
What are the treatment options associated with facial pain?
Facial pain generally goes away once you receive a diagnosis and begin a treatment plan. Your doctor will determine treatment options for your facial pain based on the cause.
Pain caused by an infection such as sinusitis generally clears up after using antibiotics or allowing the infection to heal on its own.
Facial pain caused by a viral infection such as shingles may be associated with a rash. In some cases, the pain goes away without treatment within a few days to a few weeks. In other cases, nerve pain may persist for multiple months.
If the facial pain is due to an oral condition, your dentist can treat it by prescribing antibiotics, pulling your tooth, or performing a root canal.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication can treat facial pain caused by cluster headaches or migraine.
However, sometimes facial pain caused by headaches doesn’t respond to OTC medications. Your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication for pain relief if this is the case.
If you’re suffering with facial discomfort, a private ENT specialist consultant can assess and diagnose your condition, as well as help to advise you on the best possible treatments and diagnostics. At Pall Mall, we offer private ENT appointments and services. Click here for more information or call us on 0161 3940310.