Migraine and Facial Pain

Portrait of young man with a painful facial expression, eyes clo
Portrait of young man with a painful facial expression, eyes closed and fisted.


Prevalence of facial pain in migraine: a population-based study.

Unilateral head pain focused on frontal, orbital or parietal regions is a leading symptom of migraine attacks. Rarely, head pain in migraine can extend involving the maxillary or mandibular region of the face, sometimes isolated facial pain is the only and atypical presentation of migraine. The prevalence of these unusual symptoms in migraine is unknown. We aimed to estimate the true prevalence of facial pain in migraine in a population-based sample of 517 migraine patients in Germany. In 46 (8.9%) cases migraine pain involved the head and the lower half of the face. Patients with facial pain suffer more trigemino-autonomic symptoms than migraine patients (47.8% vs. 7.9%; alpha(2) = 66.23, P < 0.001). In one case isolated facial pain without headache was the leading symptom of migraine. Our results demonstrate that facial pain is not unusual in migraine, whereas isolated facial migraine is extremely rare.

headacheandmigrainenews. Migraine: Does your face hurt? discusses this study:

“Now this is, of course, another of those chicken-and-egg questions, because some of those patients likely have jaw issues that are triggering migraine attacks.  But others simply have migraine attacks that cause the facial pain.”

“In fact, in rare cases, there is something rare called isolated facial migraine, where the pain in the face is the main feature of the migraine. Sometimes treatment for the jaw is needed, such as an NTI-tss device.  In other cases, when the pain is coming from the migraine attack, simply treating migraine as a whole will solve the facial pain issue as well.”

Makes you wonder. I know I have TMJ and I know it is getting worse. I have no idea how this affects the migraines. I do know I have pain from my temples all the way down my jaw all the time with migraines… and it is freaking nasty. And I know when I have a migraine this also makes my teeth throb with the pain.

And I know I have eye socket, cheekbone and nasal cavity and forehead pain and behind the ear pain and this is all clearly from the migraines themselves.

And I know I have nerve pain on the scalp which is allodynia pain which is caused by the central sensitization of chronic migraines and I count that because frankly when you add in the facial pain and that my whole bloody head hurts.

So it is a bit of chicken come meet egg for me. I think many of us can relate to that, eh?


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