The term craniofacial pain encompasses a series of chronic painful disorders involving the structures of the face and skull. There are specialized units for their treatment.
Among other disorders, atypical facial neuralgias, occipital neuralgias, trigeminal neuralgia, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) diseases, and many types of headache such as headache caused by problems of the upper portion of the cervical spine (cervicogenic headache) are part of this group of diseases.
Treatment of these disorders requires a multidisciplinary approach involving professionals from physical therapy, psychology and pain medicine, among others. Each disorder has its own set of recommended treatments, which may include medications, physical therapies, cognitive-behavioral therapies, and in some cases, surgery. For example, trigeminal neuralgia may require anticonvulsant medications or even a surgical procedure if the pain is severe and does not respond to other treatments. In the case of cervicogenic headache, treatment may include physical therapy to improve posture and neck mobility, as well as stress management techniques to help reduce muscle tension. The key to successful management of craniofacial pain is an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan tailored to each patient’s individual needs.