Learn about getting a comprehensive orofacial pain evaluation and become an educated patient.
The sensation of pain involves communication between your nerves, spinal cord, and brain. There are different types of pain, depending on the underlying cause.
Acute pain comes on suddenly, is usually sharp in quality, and has a specific cause. It serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body. Acute pain will go away when the underlying cause is treated. Examples of causes of acute pain are cuts, burns, and bone breaks.
Chronic pain lasts for many months or years, and is not eliminated after an underlying problem is fixed. Chronic pain can be difficult to treat and may require trying various therapies to reduce the pain.
The source of pain can be nociceptive or neuropathic.
Nociceptors, pain receptors for tissue injury, exist throughout your body. Nociceptive pain occurs when damage is inflicted on body tissue, often an external injury such as stubbing your toe or getting injured during sports. Nociceptive pain can be acute or chronic.
Neuropathic pain is caused by damage or injury of the nervous system, affecting 7-10% of the general population. This type of pain can occur without an obvious cause. The symptoms of chronic neuropathic pain can be complex, making treatment decisions difficult.
Neuralgia means a pain in the part of the body served by a nerve or group of nerves. Nerves can be affected by pressure, heat or cold, or chemical means- and this can cause pain. This pain is called a neuralgia. The neuralgia can be continuous or on-and-off and is characterized by terms such as stabbing, shooting, or sometimes constant burning or tingling. Pain is felt along the route of the nerve in the body.
The term neuropathic means there is a lesion or disease within the neural system. The “pathic” part of the word tells us that there’s an abnormality, including injury, tumor, or disease as a causal factor. Neuropathic pains can be sub-classified even further based on their location as being either central (located in the brain/spinal cord) or peripheral (outside the brain). A neuropathy is basically thought of as a disturbance in function or pathological change in a nerve.
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a neurological pain in the trigeminal nerve- the ‘facial nerve’. TN is most often caused by a blood vessel compressing and injuring the nerve. It is appropriate to use the term trigeminal neuropathic pain to describe the symptoms of vascular compressive neuropathy. The challenge is that facial pain includes an array of disorders, with fine distinctions that make diagnosis challenging. In addition, classification is not used consistently and your doctor may use a term that is different, but means the same, as what you see here.
There are other diagnoses associated with trigeminal neuropathic pain, and arriving a correct diagnosis can be complex. It is also possible to have more than one neuropathic pain condition at the same time.
Learn more about:
Sometimes, the pain a person experiencing is not trigeminal neuropathic pain; rather, the pain stems from other sources:
Dr. Derek Steinbacher, Director of Craniofacial Surgery, Yale Medicine, Chief of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery and Dentistry, FPA Medical Advisory Board member, reviews migraines, TMJ disorders, and dental pain.
Dr. Wolfgang Liedtke will discuss medical treatment of trigeminal neuropathic pain with Dr. Jeffrey Brown.
Wolfgang Liedtke, M.D. Ph.D. is Chair of Neurology, Global Development Scientific Council at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, he was Professor in the Departments of Neurology, Anesthesiology and Neurobiology; Attending Physician, Duke Neurology Clinics and Clinics for Innovative Pain Therapy, serving patients there for over 17 years.
Dr. Mark Linskey, Dr. Richard Zimmerman, and Megan Hamilton discuss what to look for in the decision making process when you are trying to find a doctor and treatment for facial pain.
Dr. Larry Arbeitman will answer: What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic? How does is differ from traditional Chiropractic methods? Learn about the connection between the Upper Cervical Spine and Facial Pain, research and case studies, what you can expect from UCC and how you can integrate it into your healthcare plan. You will also be able to ask Dr. Arbeitman your questions during this live presentation.
In this webinar, Dr. Jeffrey Brown, Chairman of the FPA Medical Advisory Board, talks about the top questions patients and their loved ones have regarding trigeminal neuralgia.
Dr. Raymond Sekula, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Director of the Cranial Nerve Disorders Program at UPMC, and FPA Medical Advisory Board member reviews the challenges that can complicate the care of people with neuropathic facial pain.
Dr. Deborah Barrett offers a framework and tools to help people improve their quality of life, just as they are, while also reducing pain and suffering. Her work draws from empirically based cognitive and behavioral interventions, and she practices what she preaches every day.
Dr. Jeffrey Brown, Chairman of the Facial Pain Association’s Medical Advisory Board, interviews Dr. Hossein Ansari on medical causes of neuropathic facial pain.
Can Hormones Affect Facial Pain? Some women experience a change in their facial pain at various points in their menstrual cycles, when taking or stopping hormonal methods of birth control, […]
Neuropathic facial pain is diagnosed almost exclusively by the individual’s description of the symptoms. Dr. Kim Burchiel developed a list of questions to help doctors determine exactly which classification may describe a […]
Jennifer M. Wagner, Executive Director of the Western Pain Society, explains the brain-body connection with an emphasis on pain response and provides a list of strategies for those affected by chronic pain.
Facial pain can be described in many words…but if you had to choose just one, what would it be? The YPC recently shared how we would describe TN in one word and how we plan to overcome TN.
Dr. Julie Pilitsis, Chair of the Department of Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics Professor of Neurosurgery Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Albany Medical Center and FPA Medical Advisory Board member presents an overview of trigeminal neuralgia and other neuropathic facial pains.
Dr. Konstantin Slavin discusses neuromodulation, a procedure used to treat and enhance quality of life in individuals who suffer severe chronic illness due to persistent pain.
Complementary health approaches, also referred to as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integrative health therapies, and other terms, refers to a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, […]
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