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Learn about your face pain, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your face pain from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Face Pain Checker

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Your Face Pain May Also be Known as:
Aches and pains in cheek
Aches and pains in face
Aches and pains in head
Aches and pains in outer cheek
Cheek ache
Cheek discomfort
Cheek hurts
Cheek is painful
Cheek pain
Cheek soreness

Face Pain Symptoms

Sensation to the face is controlled by specific nerves and arteries. Damage to these nerves and arteries can result in debilitating facial pain that is often very challenging to resolve.

The quality of facial pain symptoms can be everything from:

  • Sharp to Dull
  • Burning to Aching
  • Constant to Intermittent
  • Localized to Generalized

Since the quality and severity of facial pain can take many forms, it may also be difficult to characterize symptoms that may be associated with the pain as well.

Often people with facial pain may also experience:

Regardless of the combination of symptoms, facial pain is often debilitating and resistant to normal home remedies. Therefore, make an appointment with your doctor in order to properly treat and diagnose your face pain symptoms.

Face Pain Causes Overview

The causes of facial pain are varied because the arteries and nerves of the face are susceptible to damage by various sources.

Neurologic causes

  • Neuropathic : The word neuropathic refers to disruption in nerve functioning. Facial pain can be caused by malfunction of the trigeminal nerve – the nerve that provides sensation to the face and scalp. In most cases, the exact mechanism causing the trigeminal nerve to malfunction is never diagnosed. Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic facial pain syndrome that is quite uncomfortable even after such activities as teeth brushing or applying facial makeup.
  • Central : Central neurologic causes such as headaches and migraines can also be associated with facial pain symptoms.

Infectious causes

  • Bacterial: Many bacterial viruses can affect parts of the head such as the teeth and sinuses and indirectly cause facial pain symptoms. For example, a bacterial infection of a tooth causing an abscess can result in swelling and discomfort in the face. Bacterial infection of the eye can cause pain that radiates to include the face. Furthermore, specific bacteria such as the bacteria causing Lyme disease can affect nerves of the face resulting in pain.
  • Viral : Certain viruses have a propensity for infecting and attacking the nerves of the face. Herpes zoster the virus that causes shingles can lay dormant in the trigeminal nerve and resurface to cause a painful, blistering rash of the face. Furthermore, the pain can recur even after the rash is treated and goes away. In addition, the same parts of the face that bacteria can infect, especially the sinuses and eyes, viruses can also infect.

Structural causes

  • Musculoskeletal: Pain and dysfunction in the muscles that control chewing and movement of the jaw can result in debilitating facial pain that is easily triggered by common actions such as eating breakfast or yawning.
  • Obstruction: Presence of a salivary stone that obstructs the salivary gland may cause facial swelling that puts pressure on the trigeminal nerve causing pain.

Vascular causes

  • Giant cell arteritis: Some autoimmune diseases can cause inflammation of the blood vessels in your head leading to facial pain. One such condition is called Giant Cell/Temporal Arteritis.

Injury-related causes

Finally, a direct blow to the face is an obvious trigger for facial pain. Large bruises and deformities are a clear cause of any facial pain you be experiencing, but also take note of any smaller cuts or lesions on the face that could be responsible for your face pain symptoms.

Top 3 Face Pain Causes

  1. 1.Myofascial Pain Syndrome

    Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic musculoskeletal syndrome caused by trigger points within muscle. Pressure on these points causes pain in the area around the point as well as in other body parts, a phenomenon known as referred pain.

    You should visit your primary care physician. This complex chronic condition is often treated with injections and physical therapy.

    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain in the back of the neck, shoulder blade pain, difficulty moving the shoulder
    Symptoms that always occur with myofascial pain syndrome:
    tender muscle knot
    Primary care doctor

    Face Pain Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having face pain.

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  2. 2.Uncomplicated Head Injury

    An uncomplicated closed head injury is a diagnosis of exclusion. If someone has been seen by a physician and more serious types of injury are deemed unlikely, this is a common variation of closed head injury.

    Your head trauma looks like a variation of normal, however, it might be safe to check in with a health care provider (by phone or in person).

    Top Symptoms:
    head or face injury, headache resulting from a head injury, scalp pain, face pain, new headache
    Symptoms that always occur with uncomplicated head injury:
    head or face injury
    Symptoms that never occur with uncomplicated head injury:
    bleeding from the ear, nausea or vomiting, current loss of consciousness, feeling confused and not making sense while talking
    Phone call or in-person visit
  3. 3.Cellulitis

    Facial cellulitis is a skin infection that typically comes from other parts of the face like the mouth or the sinuses and needs antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can be pain, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected area.

    You should seek care at your primary care physician or an urgent care within a day or two, to start antibiotic treatment and to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of your body.

    Top Symptoms:
    fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    facial redness
    Primary care doctor

Face Pain Treatments and Relief

Treatment for your facial pain will most likely not resolve via home remedies – make an appointment with your doctor!

Depending on the diagnosis, your doctor may recommend the following treatment options:

  • Anticonvulsants: Do not be alarmed, your facial pain is most likely not the result of seizures. Many anticonvulsant medications are also used to combat nerve pain and your doctor may prescribe medications such as gabapentin (Neurontin) or carbamazepine (Tegretol).
  • Antibiotics: If your facial pain is due to bacterial causes, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Viral causes will not resolve with antibiotics, and your doctor will most likely suggest supportive remedies if that is the case.
  • Surgery: There are surgical procedures that can destroy nerve fibers in the face to reduce pain symptoms, especially for the neurological causes of facial pain. Talk with your doctor about this option and assess if it is the best option for you.

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience sudden onset scalp pain accompanied by fever or visual symptoms. These could be signs of Temporal Arteritis which must be treated quickly to prevent visual loss.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Face Pain

  • Q.Is your facial pain constant or come-and-go?
  • Q.How long has your facial pain been going on?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.How severe is your headache?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our face pain symptom checker.

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Face Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced face pain have also experienced:

    • 12% Headache
    • 11% Eye Pain
    • 7% Scalp Pain
  • People who have experienced face pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 40% Less Than a Week
    • 33% Less Than a Day
    • 13% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced face pain were most often matched with:

    • 5% Myofascial Pain Syndrome
    • 2% Cellulitis
    • 1% Uncomplicated Head Injury
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Face Pain Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having face pain.

Take a quiz