Everyone in the world has various expressions that reflect how they are feeling. From being excited, worried, sad, angry, and disgusted, facial expressions defy people who they are, what they eat, and how they look. Each of the different muscles that make up the face has other jobs to work at the various locations of the upper extremities. The muscles on the forehead and near the eyes help people see while opening, closing, and raising their eyebrows. The muscles around the nose help take in air to breathe. The muscles located in the jaw help people chew food and speak. The neck muscles help support the head and provide mobility. All these muscles have specific jobs, and when issues affect the upper body extremities, they can potentially lead to different problems. When environmental factors like stress, anxiety, or depression begin to affect the body, it can also affect its facial features, causing unwanted symptoms to develop. Today’s article focuses on myofascial trigger pain on the face, the signs and symptoms associated with myofascial facial pain, and how to manage myofascial facial pain. We refer patients to certified providers who specialize in musculoskeletal and oral treatments to aid individuals suffering from myofascial trigger pain affecting their facial muscles. We also guide our patients by referring them to our associated medical providers based on their examination when appropriate. We ensure to find that education is the solution to asking our providers insightful questions. Dr. Jimenez DC observes this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
How Does Myofascial Trigger Pain Affect The Face?
Have you been experiencing pain-like symptoms in your jaw? What about feeling constant pressure around your nose or cheeks? Do you feel tenderness in certain body areas around your face? Many of these symptoms you are experiencing could potentially involve myofascial trigger pain affecting the facial muscles. Having myofascial trigger pain in the upper extremities of the body can be challenging, as studies reveal that myofascial pain syndrome is a muscular pain disorder that is often misunderstood as it involves referred pain from small, tender trigger pain within the muscle fibers causing pain in different locations of the body than the actual source. Myofascial trigger pain often mimics other chronic conditions that cause doctors to be confused when patients mention that they have been experiencing symptoms and it’s affecting their daily lives. For myofascial trigger pain affecting the face, studies reveal that facial pain associated with myofascial trigger pain can be classified in various ways that affect the nasal, orbital, and oral cavities, the temporomandibular joint, and the sinuses from underlying pathologies. Myofascial pain correlating with the face can have many trigger points that can make a person feel miserable and affect their daily lives.
Signs & Symptoms Associated Myofascial Facial Pain
Like the rest of the body, the face has numerous nerves that branched out from the brain in the central nervous system, providing sensory-motor functions to the muscles. The trigeminal nerves help give movement to the face, and when myofascial pain affects the facial regions, studies reveal that the causes can include:
- Idiopathic factors
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Dental problems
- TMJ disorders
- Cranial abnormalities
- Acute muscle injury
- Stress and anxiety
These signs are associated with myofascial facial pain due to common overlapping symptoms affecting each muscle around the face. Some of the symptoms related to myofascial facial pain include:
- Tingling sensations
- Throbbing pain
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Feeling stuffed up
- Muscle tenderness
Chronic Facial Pain-Video
Have you been experiencing muscle tenderness in certain parts of your face? What about feeling stuffed up around the areas of your cheeks and nose? Or have you been feeling stiffness and pain along your jaw, neck, or shoulders? If you have been experiencing these pain symptoms, it could be facial pain associated with myofascial trigger pain. The video above overviews chronic facial pain and how it affects the head and neck. Research studies reveal that pain affecting the body for more than six months is considered chronic. Just like any other chronic pain symptoms in the body, chronic facial pain causes a neuropathic response to the central nervous system, making an injury hypersensitive and potentially involving associated symptoms from other chronic disorders. Myofascial dysfunction related to facial pain may become severe to activate trigger points along the facial muscle fibers, causing prickling sensations in the face. Luckily, there are available treatments for managing myofascial facial pain.
Management Of Myofascial Facial Pain
When managing myofascial pain associated with the face, many patients will go to their primary doctor and explain that they are experiencing pain and other symptoms that make them miserable. Doctors then examine the patient to see what is ailing them through a physical examination. Some doctors often utilize manual manipulation and other tools to diagnose that myofascial pain might be the cause. As stated earlier, myofascial pain associated with the face can be a bit complex as it can mimic other chronic conditions. Once the doctor diagnoses myofascial pain related to the face, they can refer their patients to pain specialists like chiropractors, physical therapists, physiatrists, and massage therapists to alleviate myofascial pain related to the face by examining where the causes are coming from. Pain specialists incorporate various techniques to relieve myofascial pain associated with the face:
- Stretch & spray (Stretching the muscle and spraying a coolant spray to loosen tight muscles along the neck)
- Putting pressure on the trigger point (This helps smooth out the affected muscle and fascia)
- Gentle stretching exercises (Help strengthen the affected muscles)
- Hot or cold compress (Helps relax the muscles and break up the adhesion from scar tissue)
Incorporating these treatments can help manage the symptoms associated with myofascial pain and can help alleviate muscle pain, thus preventing further issues from developing over time.
The facial muscles have specific jobs with different functions that help the body function properly. These jobs help various sections of the face by expressing how we feel, what we eat and taste, breath, and other jobs that define people. When issues begin to affect the upper extremities of the body, they can cause lead to different problems that affect the facial features of the face and cause unwanted symptoms to develop. This is known as myofascial pain and is often misunderstood,s since it can mimic other chronic conditions that affect the body. Different factors and symptoms associated with myofascial pain can become difficult to diagnose. Still, various techniques can help manage the symptoms over time to prevent further injuries from occurring on the face and the body.
Fricton, J R, et al. “Myofascial Pain Syndrome of the Head and Neck: A Review of Clinical Characteristics of 164 Patients.” Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, and Oral Pathology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 1985, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3865133/.
Williams, Christopher G, et al. “Management of Chronic Facial Pain.” Craniomaxillofacial Trauma & Reconstruction, Thieme Medical Publishers, May 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3052669/.
Yoon, Seung Zhoo, et al. “A Case of Facial Myofascial Pain Syndrome Presenting as Trigeminal Neuralgia.” Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 25 Dec. 2008, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19111486/.
Zakrzewska, J M. “Differential Diagnosis of Facial Pain and Guidelines for Management.” Define_me, July 2013, www.bjanaesthesia.org/article/S0007-0912(17)32972-0/fulltext.
Zakrzewska, Joanna M, and Troels S Jensen. “History of Facial Pain Diagnosis.” Cephalalgia: an International Journal of Headache, SAGE Publications, June 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5458869/.
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