The cheekbone is a major bone in the upper part of the face. There are many causes of cheekbone pain. Some of the common causes include trigeminal neuralgia, injuries resulting in fractures or breaks, and temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Pain in the cheekbone can be debilitating if not dealt with. A person who experiences cheekbone pain that will not go away should visit a doctor.
One cause of cheekbone pain is trigeminal neuralgia, a major nerve pain disorder. This condition causes sharp, knife-like pain to shoot through a person's cheekbone. Some people with this condition have random pain attacks, while others live in daily pain. There is no cure for trigeminal neuralgia, but the symptoms can be managed using injections, muscle relaxers and, in the most severe cases, surgery.
There is no one known cause for trigeminal neuralgia. The mysterious nature of the condition means it can take patients a long time to get a diagnosis for their cheekbone pain if trigeminal neuralgia is the cause. Anyone can develop trigeminal neuralgia, but the most at-risk group for this condition includes women over the age of 50.
Injuries from accidents or physical altercations also can cause cheekbone pain. A hard blow to the face can easily fracture or break a cheekbone. Surgery is sometimes needed to heal a cheekbone injury. If a person avoids necessary cheekbone surgery, then it can lead to problems with facial dropping and proper protection of the eyeball, among others. Surgery for cheekbone injuries is performed under anesthesia and often requires an overnight hospital stay.
It is important for a person to seek medical attention if serious trauma to the face occurs. Ice can be put on an injured cheekbone while a person is waiting to be seen by a doctor. Some facial fractures will heal nicely after routine surgery and cause a person no further problems. There are some rare cases, however, in which a patient may have temporary post-operative nerve pain or permanent scars.
TMD is a disorder of the jaw but, because of the way the way facial bones and nerves connect, this condition also can cause referred pain in the cheekbone. Teeth grinding, arthritis and severe stress can all trigger lock jaw and other painful TMD symptoms. Some patients only experience jaw pain from TMD, but others also suffer from cheekbone pain, headaches and earaches because of this disorder. Available treatments include muscle relaxers, mouth guards, biofeedback therapy, the use of ice packs and surgery.