Pain That Moves

Updated on October 13, 2009
A.N. asks from Menlo Park, CA
17 answers

I had a gnawing pain at the side of my cheek for a week. It was not too bad but is persistent. At first i thought it was a gum pain that I might have an infection at one of the upper molars, but my tooth seems okay. Then a couple days ago, the pain moves up to below the eyebrow and now it moves to the corner of my eye and onto the eyelid; they are red and a little puffy and painful when I press them. I did not relate these pains together except that the pain at the original area is not there anymore, maybe a lump there. They seem to be from inside and not due to anything topical. It seems minor to go to the doctor and i am wishing it will go away by itself , but I am also a bit freaked out if it is an infection with virus or bacteria that will keep going and affects my brain! Has anyone had this experience or have any idea what it is? Appreciate your thoughts on this!

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C.C.

answers from Fresno on

I haven't read the other responses, so this may be a duplicate. But what you are describing sounds like what happens to me when I'm about to get a cold sore! It starts in my mouth, where my gums get inflamed, then sort of moves up my face to where my eyes get puffy, then finally... cold sore on my lip. All of this is painful and will even cause achiness throughout my body and headaches. Definitely see you doctor one way or the other though, because even if it is a cold sore, they can prescribe an anti-viral medication (Acyclovir) that is inexpensive at the pharmacy, and will prevent the cold sore from even forming if you catch it early.

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L.O.

answers from San Francisco on

Having suffered a chronic tendency to sinus infections for many years (I seem to have outgrown it, fortunately) my guess is sinus. If you don't want to go the doc, you might try a regimen of psuedophed or some king of sinus medicine, although my doctor at the time--who also suffered from sinus infection tendencies--stated that taking pseudophed for people like us was like taking baby aspirin for a migraine. So, give that a whirl and if it doesn't work or only works a little, I'd go to a doctor.

good luck!

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S.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi A., I am not a doctor, but it sounds like a sinus infection. I have had several along with my son. It feels like an upper toothache at first then moves to your eyes, cheeks etc... I would go see your doctor and get an antibiotic. Hope you feel better

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V.R.

answers from Redding on

I agree with Robyn that it could be trigeminal nerve pain. Migraines can cause this.

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A.C.

answers from Sacramento on

Hello,

Even though this seems minor, I would contact your doctor or dentist if it persists. I suppose a number of things could cause this, but in my experience I have had this type of pain due to sinus problems (often when I'm not feeling congested). I have had chronic sinus problems and often get pain in the face and eyes as a result. I also clench my teeth tightly all night long which can cause the same types of pain in my jaw. I now have to wear a mouth guard that was molded by my dentist to help me with the clenching.

I really would call your doctor. Hopefully you will feel better soon!

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R.Y.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi A.,

Based on the trajectory of where the pain has moved, it seems like your trigeminal cranial nerve is being affected. The trigeminal nerve is the fifth cranial nerve, a mixed cranial nerve responsible for sensory data such as tactition (pressure), thermoception (temperature), and nociception (pain) originating from the face above the jawline; it is also responsible for the motor function of the muscles of mastication, the muscles involved in chewing but not facial expression.

What is the cause of your pain- may be a virus, but you need to see a doctor to rule out trigeminal neuralgia, which is a pain disorder originating in this nerve.

Bottom line, I would definitely recommend that you see a doctor and not wait. It is not an emergency, but you will miss out on proper diagnosis and treatment if you try to tackle a nerve problem on your own.

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M.B.

answers from Sacramento on

Mot to scare you but you should go get a cat scan right away to rule out anything major. Good luck!

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G.R.

answers from Sacramento on

This doesn't sound like something too minor to go to the doctor. It sounds very strange and you are clearly worried. Go make sure that it isn't something to worry over. You can always call your doctor and ask for a call back to ask them whether or not you should go in.

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G.B.

answers from San Francisco on

You can have a pain in your mouth and think it is in a certain tooth, but it can actually be a tooth two or three teeth away, or even on the other level (thinking it is a lower tooth and it is an upper tooth).

There is a huge network of nerves that run up through the side of the face. The list of possibilites that can cause this is lengthy. Shingles, dental problems, infected salivary glands, and more. You really do need to see a doctor and have it evalutated. I would say all of your symptoms are related to one root cause. If it were me my first stop would be a dentist for an exray of the upper molar level.

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R.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Go to the doctor, it most likely will not go away without medication.

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E.P.

answers from San Francisco on

Have you had a cold? It could be a sinus infection - I am just getting over one and I've had pain everywhere from my teeth to my cheek to my head...

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B.R.

answers from Sacramento on

I'm thinking it's probably a sinus problem, as others have suggested. Whenever we have pains that worry us, it never hurts to have a doctor, or dentist check them out just to rule out anything more serious. One remedy, if it is sinus, that I haven't seen suggested here is to use saline solution in your nasal passages to clear them. You can get a good solution over the counter (Simply Saline is the best quality one I've seen), or you can make up your own at home easily. Boil a cup of water and put approximately 1/4 teasp. of sea salt (don't use iodized salt because the iodine will sting the mucus membranes of the sinuses badly), and 1/4 teasp. of baking soda into the water. Let those dissolve, and cool the mixture to room temperature. Then use a rubber syringe... like the nasal aspirators you use on an infant... to put some of the solution into each nostril while you either tilt your head back or lie on your back. Be sure you have a lot of tissues or paper towels handy and after keeping the solution in your nose for one to two minutes, tilt your head forward and allow it to drain out, then blow your nose to get the rest of it out. If you do this daily or even two or three times a day, you may be amazed at what you get rid of, and find you feel much better.
I had even suffered a large loss of hearing in both ears for a while before I learned to do this, and believed I was going deaf. After a major clearing of my sinuses, using the saline method, most of that hearing has been restored along with much better breathing. I had even been to an ear/nose/throat Dr. and had major work done by him without getting the kind of good results I got from the saline.

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C.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I have had similar trjectory of pain from the jaw to the eye (to the crown of my head) - and thought it must be a sinus infection and/or migraine. The very thorough nerve descriptions below match what I experienced. I did see my doctor, and we tried antibiotics in case it was an infection, but the pain was not relieved. What worked for me was acupuncture and cervical (neck) traction - for the traction you can use a rolled up towel, but I purchased a Dr. Riter's Real Ease device (~$25 I think). It comes back every once in a while - lifting and carrying a toddler will do that! - and laying on the floor for 15 minutes on the Real Ease fixes it for me. Hope you find some relief soon!

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S.B.

answers from Redding on

Dear A.,
It sounds like it could be a sinus infection or perhaps and absess in one of your teeth. Both are very painful.
I've had both to where I couldn't even stand my pillow touching the side of my face. Antibiotics will help clear them up. In any case, you should make an appointment to be checked by your doctor.

Best wishes!

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E.V.

answers from Modesto on

GO TO THE DOCTOR!!!!!!!!
I don't even want to scare you with possibilities but please, for the welfare of you and your family, please - just take some time out and go. this is a very justified visit to your doc.

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T.S.

answers from Salinas on

Just my 2 cents that you do not have trigeminal neuralgia. You described yours as gnawing pain and persistent. T.N. is quick sharp pains that feel like electricity bolting to your face. Debilitating and you would have been to the dr the same day. I have also had a sinus infection which your description sounds like. Go to the dr and get it treated. I ended up with a root canal from the infection.
Good luck!

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R.W.

answers from San Francisco on

I don't know what to think about the red/puffy symptom...but I have had pain in teeth, and around eyebrows both from sinus problems. The cloudy sinus are showed up on a dental xray, so I guess I agree with the other response about the dental x-ray. If you haven't had dental xrays done recently you may be due for one anyway.
If nothing shows up there, see your doctor. Write the details down, with dates/times to make sure you don't leave anything out.

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