Dear Mamanan --
Excuse the long post, but I'd appreciate your keeping me up to date on what you find out with your facial pain. I've been experiencing the same thing for the past two years. I've dealt with the symptoms of FM and CFS for 15 years now, but the pain in my face, neck, jaw, ears, and glands has only been a problem for the past two years.
The winter of 2008 was horrendous for me with the pain. For several months the pain was 24/7. I didn't want to go on any type of prescription pain reliever, so I was taking acetaminophen around the clock since it has always been the OTC most effective on pain for me. (For me, ibuprofen in all its forms hasn't ever been effective for pain.)
Whenever the pain was unbearable, I'd also put a hot pack on my face and jaw. Though the heat was somewhat soothing, nothing seemed to fully cut the pain. At times I probably had minor burns on my face in an effort to stop the I was in. Thankfully, by late spring and summer the pain would just come and go, but was much more bearable, with just occasional bouts on through the fall.
Then, right at the beginning of 2009 ... it all returned with a vengeance. I was once again taking acetaminophen around the clock, but was still livid with pain half the time. I was desperate for relief and finally tried some aspirin in addition to the acetaminophen. (I hadn't had any luck with aspirin for pain relief since I went through puberty ... but I figured it was worth a try!) What a world of difference it has made for me. I then tried alternating acetaminophen and aspirin so as not to be taking so much of the acetaminophen. (Worries me about the liver over-load.) I have been thrilled that aspirin has been effective for pain relief once again. Perhaps it's because I'm menopausal? Hmmm ...
Then one day in mid-January, I was visiting my Mother. Her front room has a beautiful view of the mountains that surround our homes in the valley where we live. As we were talking, I could see an inversion move in ... the pollution mixed with the fog moved in much like the mist of death in the old movie The Ten Commandments. Almost instantly I was stricken with that horrible pain once again. Since that time, I've tried to notice what is going on in the atmosphere and the quality of the air on days that the pain is worse. I've now realized that bad air quality is one of the main triggers of my pain. There are many other triggers when things are bad, but air quality seems to be at the top of the list.
The one godsend for me has been that aspirin has greatly helped with not only the pain ... but I believe that it also seems to help with whatever type of inflammation process is going on in my face, neck, head, ears, and glands. More research is also needed on my part regarding the use of aspirin since I haven't taken it for my entire adult life.
I've been doing some online research on the matter of my face pain. There seems to be more information regarding Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) aimed at doctors, dentists, and therapists. It has been an accepted field of medicine for quite some time now. I find it interesting that the info about MPS on the internet leads me to mainly medical textbooks and reports, whereas, anything about CFS and FM is more in the area of popular books for the public in the health and fitness arena. I find that very interesting and plan to follow up on it.
Another thing that I have noticed is that whenever there are medications on the market for doctors to prescribe for a condition, the prevalence of diagnosing that condition seems to increase. Hmmmm ...
Okay ... I'll stop blabbering!
Here's to better health for the both of us ... for all of us!!! ~*~ Karen