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Pain in the face!

Pain in the face, and especially around the jaw can be a big problem.

28 June 2021

Chris Penlington, Clinical Psychologist

I’m a clinical psychologist and my background is working in a busy pain clinic in an NHS setting. This highlighted to me the importance of listening carefully to the experiences of patients and a recognition that what people experienced from health services was not always what the services would have planned or expected.

When I started a specialist clinical and research post in orofacial pain I was also struck that I had previously seen very few people with orofacial pain in my NHS work. There appeared to be a separation between the experiences of people with pain in the mouth and face and those experiencing pain in other areas of the body. This highlighted the importance of making sure that services can meet the needs of people with orofacial pain and that people are able to access high quality information that is relevant to their condition.

TMD video - Jaw pain

Pain in the face, and especially around the jaw can be a big problem. In fact, temporomandibular disorders, or TMD, can cause intense pain and related symptoms and they are the second most common type of musculoskeletal pain after back pain.  

We asked a group of people who live with persistent TMD what they wish they’d known sooner. They told us that many people don’t know what to do about jaw pain or who they should talk to. They also talked about things they do that are helpful.

We used this information, linked with best practice guidelines to put together two short animations. In them, we explain about TMD, who to speak to and simple ways to manage it.