Headache Types

Headache Types

Facial Pain Disorders

Medically reviewed by Dr. Emma Foster, 17 May 2021

Facial pain disorders are caused by inflammation or irritation of the nerves. Neuralgias (such as trigeminal neuralgia) belong to this category, however there are other facial pain disorders that may have less well-defined origins.

Persistent idiopathic facial pain

Persistent idiopathic facial pain (PIFP) refers to persistent facial or mouth (oral) pain that is poorly localised and cannot be connected to a disorder due to a specific peripheral nerve. The condition is diagnosed after pain has been recurring daily for over 2 hours per day for over three months. PIFP is most often described as a dull, nagging, or aching sensation, and can be aggravated by stress. It is often a comorbidity of other pain conditions (e.g., chronic widespread pain, IBS) or psychiatric/psychosocial conditions.

Neck-tongue syndrome

Neck-tongue syndrome causes severe neck pain brought on by turning the head. The pain is one-sided and is identified by a stabbing quality and a strange feeling/positioning of the tongue. It resolves spontaneously within several minutes.

Painful optic neuritis

Painful optic neuritis refers to pain behind the eyes, caused by damage to the protective coating of the optic nerve. The pain is accompanied by impaired eyesight and is aggravated by eye movement.


Further information

Trigeminal Neuralgia & Other Neuralgias – related disorders

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