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Overview of craniofacial pain

Zahid H Bajwa, MD
Charles C Ho, MD
Sajid A Khan, MD
Ivan Garza, MD
Section Editor
Jerry W Swanson, MD, MHPE
Deputy Editor
John F Dashe, MD, PhD


The diagnosis and management of patients with craniofacial pain can prove daunting even to experienced clinicians. The causes are myriad, and misdiagnosis and mismanagement are common.

This topic review will provide a brief overview of craniofacial pain. Primary headache syndromes are discussed elsewhere. (See "Tension-type headache in adults: Pathophysiology, clinical features, and diagnosis" and "Pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of migraine in adults" and "Cluster headache: Epidemiology, clinical features, and diagnosis".)


Pain from neuralgia occurs in the distribution of a particular nerve or nerves that otherwise are normal in function, while neuropathy is defined as a disturbance of function or pathologic change in a nerve or nerves [1]. Neuropathic pain can be caused by a lesion of the central or peripheral somatosensory nervous system.

Head and neck pain is mediated by sensory fibers carried by the following nerves [1]:


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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 25, 2017.
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