Facial Pain: A Comprehensive Review and Proposal for a Pragmatic Diagnostic Approach

Laura Van Deun, Muriel de Witte, Thaïs Goessens, Stijn Halewyck, Marie-Christine Ketelaer, Milica Matic, Maarten Moens, Peter Vaes, Michel Van Lint, Jan Versijpt

Research output: Contribution to journalScientific reviewpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Facial pain, alone or combined with other symptoms, is a frequent complaint. Moreover, it is a symptom situated at, more than any other pain condition, a crosspoint where several disciplines meet, for example, dentists; manual therapists; ophthalmologists; psychologists; and ear-nose-throat, pain, and internal medicine physicians besides neurologists and neurosurgeons. Recently, a new version of the most widely used classification system among neurologists for headache and facial pain, the International Classification of Headache Disorders, has been published.

OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to provide an overview of the most prevalent etiologies of facial pain and to provide a generic framework for the neurologist on how to manage patients presenting with facial pain.

METHODS: An overview of the different etiologies of facial pain is provided from the viewpoint of the respective clinical specialties that are confronted with facial pain. Key message: Caregivers should "think outside their own box" and refer to other disciplines when indicated. If not, a correct diagnosis can be delayed and unnecessary treatments might be given. The presented framework is aimed at excluding life- or organ-threatening diseases, providing several clinical clues and indications for technical investigations, and ultimately leading to the correct diagnosis and/or referral to other disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.


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