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Common questions about chronic face pain

What is persistent (chronic) pain?

Persistent pain (also known as chronic pain) is long-term pain that has lasted more than three months. People can feel persistent pain anywhere in their body including the mouth or face. Very often there are no visible signs or causes.

What is persistent face pain?

People with persistent face pain experience pain because of changes to the way the nerves in the face transmit signals to the brain, which are then interpreted as pain. The nerves can become extremely sensitive and the signals going up the brain do not switch off the way they should. Unlike other types of pain, this ongoing pain is not due to infections or injuries, even if an infection or injury was the cause of the initial pain. The signals are transmitted to the brain and are affected by a variety of factors including mood, thoughts and activities.

How can persistent face pain affect everyday life?

Persistent face pain affects many different aspects of people’s lives. It can make everyday life difficult to manage, affect people’s mood and cause unhappiness and depression.

Each person with persistent face pain is affected differently but common problems include

  • stopping or cutting back on enjoyable activities
  • disturbed sleep
  • finding it hard to speak or have conversations and socialise
  • worrying about the future
  • losing self-confidence
  • feeling more worried, angry, irritable or low in mood.

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