Case studies

A young woman with cheek pain after a work injury

Suzanne Cartwright



A pain specialist discusses the assessment and management of a 28-year-old woman who has shooting pains into her right cheek after a splash injury to her right eye when preparing podiatry instruments for sterilisation. She has several stressors – study, work and planning her wedding – and psychosocial aspects may be more significant in this case than biomedical aspects.

Key Points

  • Assessment and management of patients with persistent pain requires consideration of biomedical and psychosocial factors.
  • Once serious and/or easily treatable pathologies have been excluded, the role of nervous system sensitisation in persistent pain should be addressed.
  • Return to work is an important treatment goal for people with persistent pain, providing a positive identity, independence, social contact, satisfaction and structure.
  • Successfully addressing psycho­ social factors at a relatively young age can help build the insight and skills needed for lifelong wellbeing.
  • GPs have a key role in co­ordinating care, ensuring appropriate medical and allied health input and encouraging a return to normal function.

    Picture credit: © Studiomoment/
    Model used for illustrative purposes only.