Trigeminal Neuralgia: Facial or head pain with sharp shooting pain

“I have random fits of sharp shooting pain on the side of my head near my ear and it is

Kim Le

November 15, 2022

“I have random fits of sharp shooting pain on the side of my head near my ear and it is sometimes sensitive to touch. Sometimes eating or talking can bring on the pain but it is unpredictable”

What is the cause of facial or head pain?

When experiencing Facial or head pain, we want to determine the source of pain as symptoms can be similar across different causes.

Sudden onset with repeat attacks is typical of several types of neuralgias e.g trigeminal neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia, greater Auricular and lesser occipital nerves.

The most common facial neuralgia is the Trigeminal neuralgia.

Common symptoms include:

- sudden short sharp pain on the side of the head or face

- sensitive to light touches

- can be triggered from talking, coughing or swallowing

Common referral pain areas for trigeminal neuralgia can be seen in the image below


Chiropractic or Physiotherapy management of facial pain is dependant on the source of the pain. Currently there are no studies that indicate chiropractic or physiotherapy is successful in treating facial neuralgias however the rationale for seeing a chiro or physio is the relationship between the relationship between the upper spinal nerves and the spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve.

If the source of pain is coming from the oral cavity and triggered by oral stimulus such as cold, hot, sweetness or pressure, then it would be appropriate to consult a dentist.

The typical medical management of facial neuralgia is with anti-seizure medication. Make sure to consult your general practitioner before taking any medication.

If you have any further questions about how we can help with tight muscle and soreness, head over to our Contact Us page, or book in now to make an appointment.

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