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Airing Pain 131: Face Pain, Treatment & Management

What causes different types of face pain and what treatment is available? 

In collaboration with UCLH Royal National ENT & Eastman Dental Hospitals.


In this episode of Airing Pain we cover facial pain in its many forms, what treatments are available and how to cope better with your pain.

The way our face feels and how we move it is a massive part of our identity. Feeling pain in the face, or not being able to use your face the way you want to, is not only a physical burden on the person suffering, but a heavy psychological load to cope with as well.


Issues covered in this programme include:

facial pain, unnecessary dental treatments, tooth ache, face and identity, management techniques, trigeminal neuralgia, neuropathic pain, carbamazepine, neurosurgery, pain management programmes, psychology and pain, temporomandibular disorder, burning mouth syndrome, persistent idiopathic facial pain, central sensitisation syndrome, physiotherapy, acceptance & commitment therapy

Time Stamps:

01: 54 – Trigeminal neuralgia (TN): what is it and what does it feel like? Dr Joanna Zakrzewska explains.
06:27 – Dr Zakrzewska discusses what treatments are available for TN, including carbamazepine.
10:37 – How can neurosurgery help treat TN?
18:11 – Psychology Pain Management Programmes (PMPs) for sufferers of TN.
19:11 – Susie Holder on the psychological impact of face pain.
21:36 – Dr Roddy McMillan discusses temporomandibular disorder (TMD) as a source of face pain.
22:29 – Burning mouth syndrome and other types of face pain.
25:50 – Treatments available for other types of face pain.
28:30 – TMD and how it is different from other types of face pain (usually neuropathic in origin).
30:00 – What is central sensitisation syndrome?
32:21 – Pain management for chronic pain sufferers.
36:05 – Susie Holder explains what acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is.
44:07 – Obstacles to living well with pain, including the coronavirus pandemic.

Special Thanks:

This programme exists due to funding from The Hospital Saturday Fund, John Kirkhope Young Endowment Fund, The Tillyloss Trust & Swinton Paterson Trust.


  • Dr Joanna Zakrzewska, consultant in oral medicine specialising in trigeminal neuralgia at the Department or Oral Medicine and Facial Pain at the UCLH NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Susie Holder, clinical psychologist on the facial pain team at the Royal ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals, UCLH NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Dr Roddy McMillan, consultant in oral medicine and facial pain at the Royal ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals, UCLH NHS Foundation Trust.

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