Reasons for Facial Pain: Can Singapore Chiropractic Help?

Do you often wake up with an inexplicable ache in your jaw or pain behind the eyes? Yep, that’s facial pain. Although often overlooked, it can significantly affect your daily life activities. In this blog, we are going to discuss what causes facial pain and what treatment options you have. A Singapore Chiropractor explains!

What is Facial Pain?

Facial pain can be defined as discomfort or unpleasant sensation felt in any part of the face, including eyes, nose, jaws and mouth. It can vary in intensity ranging from mild dull sensation to severe stabbing or throbbing pain. It can occur on either or both sides of the face.

It usually results from injury or headache and most people recover on their own. But sometimes, it is caused by a serious underlying disorder and needs appropriate medical care. If you experience facial pain without any known cause, it’s important to get yourself evaluated for the correct diagnosis.

facial pain singapore treatment

Causes of Facial Pain

The source of facial pain can either come directly from structures inside the head or from other parts of the body. These may include nerves, blood vessels, eyes, dental structures, heart, ear, neck spine and sinuses.

Here are some of the conditions that might be responsible for the pain in your face:

1. Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is found on each side of the head and it connects the lower jawbone to the skull. It helps with movements like chewing and speaking.

TMJ disorder affects your jaw joints and surrounding structures, including muscles and ligaments. As a result, you might experience headache, jaw pain and difficulty opening and closing the mouth. Further, it might cause tenderness or swelling in the face.

This disorder is usually caused by jaw injuries, teeth grinding, arthritis in jaw joints or trauma. People usually recover from this condition on their own. But in some cases, your healthcare professional might suggest physical therapy, custom mouth guards or medications.

2. Sinusitis

Sinuses are air filled cavities present in the bones of the skull and face. These air-filled spaces are lined with mucous membranes that produce mucus and keep the inside of the nose moist and protect against dust and allergens.

Sinusitis is the inflammation of the lining surrounding the sinuses. It can be caused by cold, allergy and bacterial or fungal infection. Its symptoms include pain and pressure felt near the nose and forehead, runny nose, fever and decreased sense of smell.

Chronic sinusitis is when your symptoms last longer than 12 weeks. Your physician might prescribe you some antibiotics and medication to relieve pain.

3. Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal nerve is responsible for carrying the sensation of pain and touch to different parts of the face and head. Trigeminal neuralgia develops due to damage to this nerve. As a result, even mild sensations can cause intense pain.

You might feel pain in your forehead, eyes, cheeks and lower jaw that can be triggered by activities, such as eating and washing your face. The condition can occur as a result of nerve damage, multiple sclerosis and facial trauma. Its treatment options include medication and surgery.

4. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a neurological condition that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It causes facial paralysis or weakness of facial nerves. It might also affect your hearing and cause tinnitus.

Other symptoms include ear pain, balance problems and difficulty closing eyes on one side of the face. This may lead to complications such as deafness and permanent facial paralysis. Immediate treatment can reduce the risk of complications.

5. Postherpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia is one of the common complications of shingles. During the outbreak of shingles, nerve fibers get damaged and send faulty signals to the brain. As a result, it causes burning or stabbing pain that may persist for months even after the healing of the shingle rash.

The pain is usually limited to the affected area of the skin. It is usually common in people over the age of 60.  Your doctor might prescribe medications, such as anticonvulsants to ease the symptoms.

6. Bruxism

Bruxism is characterized by habitual or unconscious grinding, garnishing or clenching of teeth. It can occur during sleep or daytime. It might be caused by stress, anxiety, sleep disorders and medications.

The symptoms of bruxism include facial pain, damaged or sensitive teeth and soreness in the jaw muscles. You can use a mouthguard to protect your teeth. Further, your healthcare professional might recommend a botox injection.

7. Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital neuralgia develops due to the inflammation or damage to the occipital nerves. These nerves are responsible for providing sensory information to the skin on the back of the scalp and external ear.

As a result of injury to these nerves, you might feel pain at the base of the skull and behind the ear that can travel to the forehead and scalp. The pain is usually felt on one side and sometimes is so severe that you might feel difficulty lying down.

Its symptoms are similar to that of migraine and is often misdiagnosed. Treatment options include rest, massage, physical therapy, and medications like painkillers and tricyclic antidepressants.

8. Myofascial Pain Disorder

It is a chronic pain disorder that affects the musculoskeletal system. In this disorder, trigger points (knots) develop within muscle fibers. When pressure is applied to these sensitive points, it causes pain.

Sometimes, you also might feel pain in other parts of the body known as referred points. The syndrome usually develops because of stress-related muscle tension and the repeated motions required by the job.

Pain associated with myofascial pain syndrome usually lasts longer than normal muscle soreness. It is usually felt as back pain, shoulder pain, facial pain and headache. Exercise, physical therapy and pain medications might help this condition.

9. Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma

Acute angle closure glaucoma develops when excess fluid is blocked from draining into the eyes. This, in turn, prevents the normal outflow of aqueous humor and raises pressure in the eyes which can damage optic nerves.

It causes severe eye pain that may radiate to the other parts of the face, including the forehead, temples and cheekbones. Eyesight changes can also occur that if left untreated can cause vision loss. Your doctor would prescribe medications to decrease intraocular pressure and might suggest surgery.

10. Tooth Abscess

It is a condition that develops due to the accumulation of pus caused by bacterial infection in the teeth or gums. It causes throbbing pain that may radiate to the cheek, jaws, neck and face.

It doesn’t usually go away on its own and requires antibiotics. Your dentist might also perform a root canal or extract a tooth to relieve abscess.

Need a Chiropractor in City Hall? Find out how Upper Cervical Chiropractic Teleconsultation in Singapore can help.

Facial Pain Diagnosis

Visit your healthcare professional if you are experiencing constant face pain that is not improving with over-the-counter medication. Your doctor will take a physical history and might ask questions about your symptoms. He might need to know when your pain began, its duration and the type of pain. Further, he may inquire about the other symptoms you are experiencing.

During the examination, your physician might assess your jaw movement, spinal function and eye movement to check if the pain is associated with any type of stimuli. Further, he might order some tests, such as CT scans, MRI and complete blood picture to correctly diagnose the cause behind facial pain. Once the cause is diagnosed, you will be sent to the appropriate specialist who will develop a plan for facial pain management.

 

When Is Facial Pain An Emergency?

Facial pain is usually not an emergency and can be treated at your doctor’s clinic. However, face pain, particularly in the jaw, might be an indicator of cardiac problem. Patients usually describe this pain as bad toothache. This kind of pain isn’t localized and it extends up to the jawline. Furthermore, it can aggravate on physical activity, such as climbing stairs.

If you ever feel sudden facial pain that radiates from your left arm or chest, immediately call your local emergency services and seek urgent medical care. This could be a sign of myocardial infarction (heart attack).

How Singapore Chiropractic Care Can Help Facial Pain?

Singapore Chiropractic care can help people with facial pain through various approaches. It is focused on the alignment of the spine and surrounding structures. Misalignment in the spine, particularly in the neck region, can affect nearby nerves that can contribute to facial pain.

Singapore Chiropractors address these misalignments that reduce pressure on nerves. It promotes proper nerve function, thus reducing facial pain. Singapore Chiropractic care can also help ease muscle tension in the neck, jaw and shoulder. Tightness in these areas can cause facial pain, especially in conditions like temporomandibular joint disorder.

Furthermore, poor posture contributes to the risk of musculoskeletal imbalances that can cause facial pain. Chiropractors address postural issues and restore proper alignment by reducing strain on muscles and joints of the neck and upper back, thus alleviating facial pain.

Our experts at Vitality Chiropractic Singapore specialize in upper cervical Chiropractic care. They aim to provide personalized care tailored to your individual needs. If you are experiencing facial pain, contact us right now to restore your health.

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REFERENCES

  1. TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders). (n.d.). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tmd#:~:text=Temporomandibular%20 disorders%20(TMDs)%20are%20a,each%20side%20of%20the%20jaw.
  2. Trigeminal neuralgia. (n.d.). National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/trigeminal-neuralgia
  3. Yao, A., & Barad, M. (2020). Diagnosis and management of chronic facial pain. BJA Education, 20(4), 120–125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjae.2020.01.001
  4. Zakrzewska, J. M. (2013). Differential diagnosis of facial pain and guidelines for management. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 111(1), 95–104. https://doi.org/10.1093/bja/aet125

Written by

Shaan Rai (Chiropractic, Singapore)

Shaan (UK) is based in Singapore. He is a GCC registered Singapore Chiropractor, completing a 5 year course at AECC, attaining his Masters in Chiropractic. His career has been specialised in neurological cases, such as migraines and vertigo. He is the Vuce President and Chairman for Outreach & Charity for Alliance of Chiropractic (AoC) and is a founder of Vitality Chiropractic Singapore. He developed the NeuroPro method, combining Upper Cervical techniques with Functional Neurology Rehab.

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