Persistent Idiopathic Facial Pain

  • Rigmor Jensen
  • Dimos D. Mitsikostas
  • Christian Wöber
Reference work entry


Persistent Idiopathic Facial Pain (PIFP) is a moderate or severe continuous pain disorder in the facial region. The pain is usually deep and poorly localized, and the quality is of burning, cramping, or dull quality. The incidence is estimated to 2–4 per 100,000 but exact epidemiological data are lacking. Persistent idiopathic facial pain is a difficult diagnostic group compared to other pain categories and symptomatic causes must always be sought. The underlying pathophysiology is yet unknown and therapy is widely unspecific and ineffective. The existing literature is reviewed and summarized, the possible differential diagnoses are listed, and the existing treatment strategies are presented. The optimal outcome is achieved by a multidisciplinary approach focusing on a combination of symptomatic medication, patient education, cognitive therapy, and coping strategies. In conclusion, patients with PIFP remain a complicated group to diagnose and to treat. The scientific evidence for a specific entity, a clear pathophysiological mechanism and effective treatment strategies are still lacking. Further field testing and clinical characterizations of these severely affected patients are highly needed and the noncommittal title Persistent Idiopathic Facial Pain is preferable until further evidence is available.


Cluster Headache Trigeminal Neuralgia Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Facial Pain Pain Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Lifting The Burden 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rigmor Jensen
    • 1
  • Dimos D. Mitsikostas
    • 2
  • Christian Wöber
    • 3
  1. 1.Danish Headache Centre and Department of NeurologyGlostrup Hospital, University of CopenhagenGlostrupDenmark
  2. 2.Neurology DepartmentAthens Naval HospitalAthensGreece
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria

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