London, Aug 23 (IANS) Facial pain may be a symptom of headaches as researchers have found that up to 10 per cent of people with headaches also suffer from facial pain.
“Facial pain has not been well recognised as a symptom of headache and some people end up waiting a long time for a proper diagnosis and treatment,” said study author Arne May from the University of Hamburg in Germany.
“This study shows that facial pain is not uncommon, and for many people their pain occurs mainly in the face, not the head,” May said.
Published in the journal Neurology, the study involved 2,912 people with primary headaches – headaches not due to another condition and include migraine and cluster headaches.
Participants were asked to fill out questionnaires about their headaches and facial pain.
Of the study participants, 291 people — 10 per cent had facial pain. Only 2 per cent — 44 of the 1,935 people with migraine had facial pain. Of those, 41 per cent experienced pain predominantly in the face.
Among people with cluster headache, 15 per cent or 42 of 283 people, had facial pain. Of those, 31 per cent had pain mainly in the face.
Also, facial pain affected 21 per cent of the 42 people with hemicrania continua — a rare type of headache with continuous pain that varies in severity.
In another rare type of headache, called short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache, 20 per cent of the 15 people in the study had facial pain. This type of headache involves very frequent attacks on one side of the head.
The researchers also reported on six people who had constant facial pain on one side of the head only in addition to facial pain attacks lasting 10 to 30 minutes and occurring several times a day.
Researchers said this type of pain syndrome has not been described before and they proposed calling it constant unilateral facial pain with added attacks.