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The Stanford Facial Pain Program offers an interdisciplinary approach to evaluating, diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating the various disorders that can cause chronic pain in the face, mouth and head.
Our team of physicians, dentists, psychologists, and physical therapists work together to develop a complete, comprehensive, individualized treatment program. This tailored program focuses on medical management, procedural interventions and lifestyle changes to provide maximum pain relief and help sufferers cope with the debilitating effects of chronic facial pain.
There are many types of facial pain that can be caused by problems with the skin or mucus membranes, nerves, hinge or joint in the jaw, teeth, or ear.
Trigeminal neuralgia: A pain condition characterized by intermittent, intense, shooting, or stabbing pain that typically occurs on one side of the face. Trigeminal neuralgia often occurs when a nearby artery or vein puts excessive pressure on the nerve.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD or TMJ): A complex condition that can be caused by a number of problems in the hinge of the jaw. The pain can originate in the joint, bone, muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue, or teeth.
Masticatory (chewing) or jaw musculoskeletal pain: An abnormal stress on the muscles that control chewing, and opening and closing the jaw. This can be caused by tension, spasm, or fatigue of the muscles, and can result from teeth problems or from clenching the jaw.
Cervical (neck) musculoskeletal pain: Neck pain that is most likely the result of mechanical problems caused by trauma or degenerative processes in the cervical spine.
Headaches: Migraines, hemicrania continua, paroxysmal hemicranias, and cluster headache are all specific types of headache that can mimic facial pain.
Neuropathic (nerve) pain: This pain is caused by damage to the nerves, that causes them to fire constantly.
Sleep disorders, depression, and anxiety: These conditions can occur with unremitting orofacial pain.
Orofacial dystonias: Involuntary, repetitive, or spasmodic muscle contractions in the tongue, lower face, or jaw muscles. They frequently cause migraines and tension headaches.
Intraoral, intracranial, extracranial, and systemic disorders: Disorders in the skull, sinuses, mouth, or internal organs that can cause facial pain.
Glossopharyngeal neuralgia: Nerve pain characterized by repeated, brief episodes of severe jabbing or stabbing pain on one side of the tongue or in the back of the nose or throat, ear, or tonsils.
Geniculate neuralgia: Uncommon disorder characterized by sudden and brief stabs of pain deep in the ear canal of one ear.
Occipital neuralgia: The pain is often a sharp or jabbing electrical-type shock in the back of the head or neck, or it can be aching, burning, or throbbing pain that starts at the back of the head and radiates to the scalp.
Post-herpetic neuralgia: Pain due to nerve damage following an episode of shingles (herpes zoster infection).
Red ear syndrome: Rare disorder in which the external ear turns red and feels like it is burning or on fire. Red ear syndrome is often associated with migraines or other headaches.
Otalgia: Pain in the ear can either be classified as primary, meaning that it originates in the ear, or referred, meaning that it originates outside of the ear.
Stomatodynia or glossodynia (burning mouth syndrome): Pain that can affect the tongue, lips, gums, hard and soft palate, throat, or the inside of the cheeks and throat. The pain can include burning or tingling in the mouth or throat.
Persistent idiopathic facial pain (atypical facial pain): Defined as any pain in an area of the face innervated by the trigeminal nerve that does not fit into the classification of other cranial nerve pains.
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