Dealing with any type of chronic pain can be overwhelming and confusing. The pain never goes away and other people, especially medical professionals, begin to lose empathy for your medical symptoms. More than 15% of American adults suffer from chronic facial pain. Few are aware of their chronic facial pain treatment options. If you are looking for effective facial pain management, discuss one of these options with your family or cosmetic dentist.
Medications are probably the most common chronic facial pain treatment. The reason that medications are so often used is because the diagnosis of chronic facial pain can take many months, and sometimes years. The medication may be used as a temporary treatment of symptoms, until a better option can be evaluated. Chronic facial pain treatment medications normally focus on the pain, inflammation, and the muscles. Some patients may be encouraged to take over the counter pain medications to prevent the risk of addiction.
The problem with medications as a form of treatment is that they are not permanent. While they may reduce pain and inflammation for a short period of time, they do not solve the problem itself. As soon as the patient stops taking the medication, the chronic facial pain is likely to begin again. Patients with other medical conditions may not be able to take daily medications along with their current medications.
Sometimes, life changes may be recommended for chronic facial pain treatment. There are usually some things that make the pain worse, including extremely cold or hot temperatures. The patient may be encouraged to give up these temperature extreme foods and drinks. The patient might also be encouraged to take smaller bites and to chew less. Although these life changes can potentially reduce the pain of chronic facial pain, it also does not entirely solve the problem. In the meantime, the patient is forced to give up daily items. They may also have to add over the counter supplements to their diet to make up for these lost items.
Nerve stimulation procedures
If nerves are expected to be the cause of the chronic facial pain condition, the physician might recommend a nerve stimulation procedure. This electrical stimulation process targets the neuromuscular parts of the face. It is similar to a TENS unit, which is often used on the back or leg muscles, except that it is used on the face. Because the face is a very sensitive area, this procedure should only be completed by a professional. Do not put a home TENS unit on the face. Not correctly following the nerve stimulations could actually make the pain symptoms even worse.
This procedure, the nerve ablation process is usually a last resort. It essentially works by burning off the end of the nerves. The specific nerves that are causing the pain must first be found. Once the nerve is burned completely, it can no longer experience pain signals. This often results in reduction or complete removal of the pain. Nerve ablation procedures are usually only completed after the nerve stimulation procedures have been tested. If the nerve stimulation shows success, then there is usually good expectation that the nerve ablation procedure will also be successful. Nerve ablation procedures usually correct the pain for a long period of time, but may need to be repeated every couple of years by a sedation dentist for the best results.
Chronic pain of any type can be troublesome and can affect many aspects of your life. Chronic facial pain may leave you feeling even more helpless. It can affect your ability to communicate and make desired facial expressions. Pain in the face also makes it difficult to use traditional pain methods, such as heating pads or ice packs. Fortunately, there are some treatments available which include over the counter or prescription medications, lifestyle changes, nerve stimulation procedures, and nerve ablation procedures.