Facial pain


Facial pain, either acute or chronic, is often difficult to manage since no visible cause can be found in many cases

Enquiries & Appointments

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What is causing my facial pain?

Facial pain can occur even when the structures of your mouth, jaw and face are healthy. In chronic facial pain, there is a disturbance in the transmission of pain messages to your brain. Nerves carrying the pain signals have a memory for transmitting pain. These nerves become extremely sensitive and the pain signal does not ‘switch off’.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Treatment options depend on the type of your pain but may include antidepressants or anticonvulsants to decrease the number of pain impulses reaching your brain.

There are surgical options for trigeminal neuralgia, a specific type of facial pain with characteristic symptoms of sharp, stabbing pain often referred to as like ‘electric shocks’. These include:

  • glycerol injections
  • radiofrequency lesioning
  • balloon compression
  • stereotactic radiosurgery with Gamma Knife
  • microvascular decompression

Your consultant will speak to you about your symptoms, medical history and perform a physical examination of your mouth, face and neck. They may also request the following tests:

  • X-rays to rule out bone fractures, breaks or damage
  • blood tests to help determine the cause of pain

Usually, as in most chronic pains, no visible cause can be found.

Treatment options depend on the source of your pain but may include:

  • Antidepressants or anticonvulsants, to decrease the number of pain impulses reaching your brain
  • Glycerol injections
  • Radiofrequency lesioning
  • Balloon compression
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery with Gamma Knife. This uses a concentrated beam of radiation to deliberately damage the nerve where it enters the brainstem.
  • Microvascular decompression. This involves relieving the pressure placed on your nerve by blood vessels that are touching the nerve or wrapped around it.

Our locations

SPECIALIST UNIT  London Neurosurgery Partnership

SPECIALIST UNIT London Neurosurgery Partnership

78 Harley Street W1G 7HJ London
The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.