Chronic facial pain can often be the result of trauma, arthritis, problems with the brainstem, and/or prior or ongoing nerve injury. Common disorders that can lead to facial pain include migraines, dental problems, temporomandibular disorder, trigeminal neuralgia, atypical facial pain, and neuropathic pain. For many patients, facial pain is severe and can be unrelenting, which can directly impact the ability to think, work, or take care of one’s family.
The Herman-Darrow lab is particularly focused on the underlying electrical activity of the brain that leads to and perpetuates facial pain as well as how this pain affects how decisions are made and the moods that can arise. As we understand the effects of pain in these circuits of the brain, we are able to study the effects of neuromodulation on this electrical activity and our behaviors and quality of life.