Doctor, Why Does My Face Still Ache?

Doctor, Why Does My Face STILL Ache?

Authors: Dr. Donald Tanenbaum and Dr. S.L. Roistacher

Reviewed by Fran Lewis



“I hate my face and I wish that I could rip it off and get a new one.” “Doctor, Doctor, what’s wrong with me? My face burns, aches, pulls, tingles and my ears hurt too. All I want to do is scream. I can’t stand the pain! I feel tense and can never relax and enjoy myself. Life seems to have taken on a painful turn. What should I do? You keep telling me that I am fine, look great but I know that is not true. I hardly function anymore and the perky and energetic person I once was seems to be lying dormant somewhere within me hoping to find her way out! Why does my face still ache? HELP ME!


Imagine listening to yourself repeating these symptoms and complaint over and over again to deaf ears. Imagine having difficulty chewing, swallowing or even smiling. What I told you are not alone? What if I told you that when you finish reading my review and go out and get a copy of “Doctor, Why Does My Face STILL ACHE? By Dr. Donald R. Tanenbaum and Dr. S.L.Roistacher, you might find the answers, understand the underlying causes and seek treatment from the right medical professionals.


Both doctors are facial pain doctors whose main or primary focus concerns pain related symptoms occurring in “sensory organs, the mouth, jaws and even the neck.” But what you probably do not know is that your face is composed of muscles. You heard me and these vital muscles in our faces help us to express and show our emotions. So, if your facial muscles are tense or you are unable to smile at a friend, show excitement if you win the lottery or have trouble communicating on a social level your problem just might be muscle related. Once you, the pain suffer accept that this might be the cause of your trouble and it your face pain of a muscular origin: Why suffer! You have to learn how to deal with the pain, the proper diagnosis of your specific pain and seek the right treatment from the right medical professional.


The authors define in laymen’s terms three categories of common symptoms. The first are symptoms that feature pain (sensory expression). The second feelings such as numbness or warmth in the facial region (neural expression). The third is muscle tension (motor expression). These are explained in detail on pages 10-11 in simple’s terms. They follow with explaining the patterns of facial pain, and that everyone’s pain is different. Some facial pain is sudden and can last for a long time while some can be more localized and for short periods of time. At times it can manifest itself in a sharp or dull pain that comes out of nowhere. Believe it or not these different pains are affected and can be brought on by your emotions. Facial pain can be depilating and can create changes in your daily life that hamper your functioning. There are many types of facial pain that the author’s define. Beginning with the simplest definition of “Referred Pain.”  This type of pain means the source of your pain is not the part of the body that actually hurts. Meaning if the pain is in your teeth or ear it might be coming from somewhere else. Next, the authors explain the Trigger Points related to Referred Pain, the Jaw and Referred Pain, Recurring Pain, Fluctuating Pain, Sleep and Facial Pain Symptoms.


So, just who has the displeasure of persistent facial pain what are the characteristics. Well: men and women have the displeasure of this pain but women more than men. So, if it is not bad enough some of us experience PMS, bloating, and cramps once a month now we have the distinction of getting more muscle pain, TMD and other facial pains more than men.


One of the most relevant and important points made by the authors several times and it cannot be said too often is the lack of professional training that medical professionals get in dental schools in order to be able to properly evaluate facial pain and understand the underlying causes and proscribe the correct course of treatment. Chapter Four defines they detect and diagnose facial and they elaborate on the consequences of misdiagnoses and the impact it will have on your life.


Now, for the best part and understanding what really causes persistent facial pain and how to handle it? Your muscles control your every movement. Remember, even your heart is a muscle. Movements are started when your brain sends a message to your muscles. Your brain is like the sergeant in the army that relates the orders to the troops but in this case it monitors and regulates your muscles giving them the orders they need to function. Your face is made up of muscles so naturally it will hurt if the pain is caused by fatigue or over contracted muscles in your face or neck. Why? Your emotions! Mind-body connections: Your brain is under siege!

Now, for the startling revelations you have been waiting for: What are the symptoms and what can I do about them? Who can help treat me?


The primary cause is your emotions and your emotional reactions related to your level of stress. Your level of stress can raise or escalate the pain. For example, the loss of a loved one, even a pet, serious illness, financial problems or even just dealing with your kids can create stress and cause facial pain. Chapter Five will explain the true causes of the many kinds of facial pain but I am going to focus on the part of this chapter that deals with the different stages and how to understand them. There are four stages of Facial Pain Under Siege: Stage One: Muscle Soreness, Stage Two: Muscle Guarding, Stage Three: Peripheral Sensitization, Stage Four: Central Sensitization. When muscles are compromised the symptoms can really alter your life and become depilating. Figure 10 on page 69 will show you and explain what the term Brain Under Siege Means and explains the sequence and gravity of the different types of pain and when to seek medical attention.



The most valuable piece of information that I can impart is that you need to see the right medical professional in order to validate your symptoms and this is where our authors come in. Seeing an Orofacial Doctor will allow you to have your symptoms properly evaluated. One of the main points made is that doctors do not always listen or have time to listen to their patients and their concerns. This is not the case with Dr. Tanenbaum or Dr. Roistacher. The first line of communication is listening to the patient, understanding his/her complaints and concerns and then going from there. After examining the patient they often ask more pointed questions based on the information presented hoping to draw out the real reasons behind the pain which are often due to emotional stress and anxiety. Read the many case stories they share to understand the procedures followed and how they were able to help their patients. Of course nothing can succeed and no treatment will work unless the patient takes accountability and responsibility to work with the doctors as they state the 60/40 Percent rule with the patient doing most of the work. Therefore, it is important for them to listen carefully to the patient with facial pain. Within this chapter they explain that there are three profile groups of patients: Group One: Patients with Pain as a Result of Everyday Challenges. Group Two: Those will Pain as a result of a Brain under Siege. Within the second group the authors add Teens with Face Pain, ADHD With Face Pain and Facial Pain and Seniors. Stage Three: Patients with Pain but No Muscle Dysfunction. The authors then proceed with how they treat patients with recurring facial pain, pain and suffering and their successful treatments. So, what are the four levels of treatments: Muscle Treatments, Physical Self-Regulation Techniques on pages 93-96. Exercises and Manual Therapy and finally Jaw and Neck Exercises followed by Posture, medications, pain medications, anti-inflammatory medications and other drugs that can be used to alleviate pain. To learn more you need to read Chapter 6. The success of their patients is attributed to the treatment strategies and how they are implemented. But, what happens when the physical profile changes and the end result just might not be what you think it is and the underlying cause could actually be medical?


Some face pain is caused by different reasons and are often hard to diagnose. On page 110 the authors sites facial pains that are caused by underlying medical problems and they are followed by some of the most prevalent. Facial Neuralgias such as Trigeminal Neuralgia, which is quite painful. Facial Pain and the Heart, Temporal Arteritis and Facial Pain, Head and Neck Tumors, Parotid Tumors and Intracranial Tumors are all discussed and the symptoms and treatments described in Chapter 7. But, before you decide on your treatment, or try to analyze your symptoms: Don’t!


Doctor Doctor: I am in pain: Wait: Read this outstanding resource and book to understand Facial Pain and then go and see a doctor who specializes in Facial Pain and find out the real cause of your problem so that you can say: Doctor Doctor: I am no longer in Pain! So, well written for the laymen to understand with great stories that help explain each symptom and treatment. References that follow and organizations that deal with this pain plus information of the authors complete this great book. Why Be In Pain!


Fran Lewis: reviewer