There are many conditions that can cause face pain. It is also true that many things that cause face pain can be caused by a neck problem.
Trigeminal Neuralgia(TN) is marked by severe electrical pain that one feels on the face jaw or teeth. Normally when people suffer from this they describe the pain as suicidal. This is no ordinary ache. This is severe pain. When it strikes it can be so severe that it drops the individual to their knees. It is usually episodic but in severe cases can be continual. Runny eyes often associates the pain. Brushing the teeth , stroking the cheek and other minor activities can trigger an “attack” when someone suffers with TN.
TMJ/TMD is a condition that affects the jaw joint. It is characterized by clicking, popping, and pain focused next to the ear. Sometimes the pain can also radiate into the face and can be accompanied by pain on the side of the head where the temporalis muscle is located. People with TMJ also often complain that their teeth do not line up properly. It is often triggered with eating hard foods such as candy or chewing on ice.
Sinus problems can make you feel miserable. They can also be related to facial pain. Because the sinus membranes become swollen they refer pain to the face. Sinus trouble can cause pain over the eyes, over the cheek bones, or near the jaw joint. It there is infection it can also cause sharp shooting pains that feel like its in your face. Chronic Sinus problems are a common source of face pain but can easily be distinguished from TN, TMJ and dental problems.
The upper cervical spine is the weakest link in the spine. Simultaneously it is neurologically the most important. As we go through life it is common for people to suffer trauma. Whiplash trauma, sports injuries, slip and fall accidents and others can misalign the top two bones in the neck. If one of them locks out of its normal position it can interfere with the nervous system (1,2,3) . Irritation to the nervous system can create dysfunction anywhere in the body. In the case of TMJ , altered muscle tone of the mastication muscles is controlled in the brain-stem. Trigeminal Neuralgia is caused by interference to the 5th cranial nerve which is housed in the brain-stem. The sinus membrane is controlled by neurology that comes out of the brain-stem also. It is commonplace for all three of these conditions to be caused by upper neck injuries. In our offices in Los Angeles we have taken care of over 8000 patients. While the upper cervical spine is not the cause of all conditions it just makes sense that if you have a chronic health condition you should have your upper cervical spine checked by an upper cervical chiropractor.
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