Facial pain

Older man speaking to doctor about facial pain.

​Most causes of facial pain are harmless; however, some could be the result of a serious medical condition. Facial pain is any acute or chronic pain affecting your face. Acute pain is usually sudden and intense, like you would have with a cut or broken bone. It usually lessens as the injury or condition heals. Chronic pain can vary in intensity but can last for months or years. 

Neurosurgeons at The Christ Hospital Health Network provide expert, compassionate care for acute and chronic facial pain including:

  • Classic Trigeminal Neuralgia, type 1 (TN1)—also called “tic douloureux,” TN1 is a type of nerve pain affecting the 5th cranial nerve (also called the trigeminal nerve), which covers most of your head. TN1 causes successive bursts of sudden, intense burning pain, like an electric shock, lasting up to two minutes each and sometimes up to two hours.

  • Trigeminal Neuralgia, type 2 (TN2)—an irregular form of TN that causes an aching, burning, stabbing pain. Although less intense that TN1, it can be disabling mentally and physically.

Trigeminal neuralgia causes

Trigeminal neuralgia often affects people 50 and older, and women more than men, but it can be found in anyone. Although the underlying cause of TN is sometimes unknown, damage to the trigeminal nerve near the base of the brain or a blood vessel pressing against the nerve are the most common cause of this condition. 

Trigeminal neuralgia symptoms

Depending on the type of trigeminal neuralgia—TN1 or TN2—symptoms can include:

  • Burning sensation of the face

  • Gaps between flashes of pain

  • Pain like electric shocks or like a knife

  • Sudden, severe and stabbing pain, usually on one side of the face

Pain could be triggered by face washing, teeth brushing, eating or just facing the wind. Patients often develop anxiety about the pain and when it might return. TN pain rarely happens at night during sleep.

Fortunately, with effective treatments TN can often be cured.

Why choose The Christ Hospital Health Network

Our expert neurosurgeons provide compassionate care and the latest treatment for people with acute or chronic facial pain including trigeminal neuralgia.

Our dedicated neurosurgery team includes expert neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists and nuclear medicine specialists. 

Patients also have access to complementary medicine therapies like acupuncture and biofeedback.

Learn more about facial pain care at The Christ Hospital Health Network.