Top 10 tips to beat orofacial pain

1. Ensure you are happy with your diagnosis 30% of patients have several different pain conditions ongoing in the head and neck area. Added with the complexity of the region (ears, eyes, teeth, sinuses, brain etc) makes accurate diagnosis very challenging for clinicians.

2. Reduce your stress! This is always easier said than done but stress is al recognised factor in escalating ongoing pain. Ask your general medical practitioner to recommend local stress busting activities and clinical support (stress management, various sport and exercise classes [yoga] relationship advice, local library).

3. Maintain your general health Ageing and poor health both increase your likelihood to develop and experience prolonged chronic pain.

4. Maintain your dental health Do ensure that you seek annual dental check ups and use fluoride toothpaste daily. Avoid acidic, processed carbohydrate or sugar containing foods, particularly outside meal times. This will reduce your susceptibility to dental caries (tooth rot). Most adults lose their teeth due to poor oral hygiene( tooth brushing). If you gums bleed brush them more and use dental floss or other forms of interdental cleaning regularly. If your gums bleed on brushing then they are infected and unhealthy. BRUSH THEM MORE!. You will notice a significant improvement over 2 weeks of improved brushing. If you have persistent staining or calcified deposits left on your teeth seek treatment and oral health training form your hygienist.

5. Jaw joint pain If you have pain around the jaw joint ensure you don’t undergo procedures requiring long periods of mouth opening including dental treatment ( especially orthodontic treatment, surgery, complex crown and bridge, tooth bleaching), or activities including singing, chewing gum or eating tough foods. If you do attend your dentists ask them to use a dental prop between your teeth so that you can relax your jaw whilst open.

6. If you have chronic headaches, make sure you are well hydrated and always get regular eye tests.

7. If you have recent onset pain that is associated with changes in sensation or muscle weakness, prolonged lymph node enlargement, night sweats, weight loss you MUST seek urgent advice from you general medical practitioner.

8. Good posture Increasingly neck and shoulder strain due to poor posture whilst using lap tops on desks or in front of the television at home may cause muscle related pain and in some cases associated headaches.

9. If your eyesight or hearing has recently deteriorated in association with orofacial pain do get eyesight and hearing tests undertaken and seek urgent advice from your doctor.

10. Caution is advised using daily over the counter (OTC) analgesics (pain killers) For example neurofen, brufen, paracetamol and codeine containing drugs. Long term abuse of these drugs can cause your natural pain killing systems to fail resulting in medication overuse chronic pain.