Do you ever experience facial numbness? Numbness in the face is also referred to as hypesthesia. When an area of your face is numb, you will find that it lacks feeling (or the sense of touch). You might be wondering what causes numbness in face. A problem or problems in a nerve called the trigeminal nerve often plays a large part in causing this problem.
If you are experiencing numbness in the face, you should know that it could be a symptom of one of many different conditions that we will outline in this article. Make sure to consult with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss your symptoms.
What Causes Numbness in Face
One of the possible symptoms of a stroke is facial numbness. This numbness might extend down a single side of the body. Additional stroke symptoms include slurring of speech, weakness in one arm, and facial drooping. If you think you might have experienced a stroke, you absolutely must obtain immediate emergency medical care in order to have a chance to prevent permanent serious effects or death. The majority of the time, facial numbness caused by a stroke will be present only on one side of the face.
A stroke occurs when the flow of blood to a part of the brain is interrupted by a blockage. Bleeding in the brain can sometimes be caused by strokes. Emergency surgery is often required in these cases.
Trauma to the face and head can lead to facial numbness. Numbness is most likely to occur if there has been trauma specifically to one or more of the branches of the trigeminal nerve. Sleeping in a strange position can lead to temporary slight numbness in the face or other parts of the body.
This condition develops when there is inflammation and excessive pressure on the trigeminal nerve from a blood vessel. The nerve’s special sheath (which protects it) degenerates as a result of this pressure. Multiple sclerosis can often lead to this problem, as can the presence of a tumor. People who have trigeminal neuralgia frequently have sharp pain, as well as facial numbness. If you think that you might have trigeminal neuralgia, make sure to talk to your doctor.
Trigeminal neuralgia can be caused by inflammation, tumors, and abnormal growth in the blood vessels around the nerve. The pain of trigeminal neuralgia can be very severe and sharp.
Numb chin syndrome
Problems with the nerve designated to the chin, the maxillary nerve, can create numb chin syndrome. A tumor or trauma to the face can lead to this problem. Make sure to consult with your doctor if you think you might have numb chin syndrome.
Shingles is a condition that develops when the chickenpox virus becomes active again. As a result, it usually occurs in adults that experienced chickenpox when they were younger. If a patch of shingles appears on the face, it can lead to nerve damage. This damage can be either temporary (the usual situation) or permanent. Shingles tends to be a very painful and distressing condition. Make sure to see your doctor if you think you might have shingles.
A hemiplegic migraine is a severe migraine type. It is quite rare. With a hemiplegic migraine, you might have numbness in a single side of your face (or body).
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple Sclerosis affects the nervous system, spinal cord, and brain. It is common for this condition to cause numbness in one or several parts of the face. MS is an autoimmune condition. When one has MS, his or her body actually attacks its own nervous system (which includes the trigeminal nerve).
Some of the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis can include numbness, blurred vision, double vision, and pain behind and of the eye. If you suspect that you could have MS, you must see a doctor as soon as possible.
The presence of a brain tumor can cause numbness in the face. It is essential to see your doctor if you think there is any possibility that you could have a brain tumor.
When a seizure affects just a limited part of the brain, it is referred to as a focal seizure or partial seizure. Focal or partial seizures often have symptoms that strongly affect the face. Some of these symptoms can include numbness, as well as abnormal movement and twitching. There are many possible causes of focal seizures, but they are generally related to the question of electric seizures.
Some people experience a certain amount of facial numbness during panic attacks.
When hypothyroidism is present for a long period of time, there can be effects on the nervous system that lead to a feeling of numbness. Make sure to be tested by your doctor if you think you could have hypothyroidism.
A nerve tumor is also referred to as a neuroma. If you develop a nerve tumor that creates pressure on nerves that send sensations to the brain, you can experience facial numbness. Nerve tumors are rare but you should definitely be examined by a physician if you think there could be any possibility that you have one.
This is especially important as tumors can be cancerous and potentially deadly. Symptoms of a nerve tumor can sometimes include facial numbness and other symptoms (such as pain) that gradually appear and worsen.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
When one has a Transient Ischemic Attack, he or she experiences temporary symptoms that tend to be similar to those that may occur during a stroke. In fact, the TIA is sometimes called a “mini-stroke.” The symptoms of a TIA tend to last a few minutes to a maximum of an hour. People who have Transient Ischemic Attacks tend to be more prone to having strokes. Some of the symptoms of a Transient Ischemic Attack can include facial numbness, facial muscle weakness, and facial muscle paralysis.
You must see a doctor immediately if you think that you are having a Transient Ischemic Attack. Seek emergency treatment, as it is impossible for you to know whether you are having a TIA or an actual stroke, and because Transient Ischemic Attacks can lead to strokes.
Neuropathy can occur when there is damage to the nerves. Sometimes that damage is caused by another condition, such as diabetes. People who have neuropathy tend to be at a greater risk of stroke. The symptoms of neuropathy can include the “pins-and-needles” sensation, burning, and/or numbness. See a physician if you think that you might be experiencing neuropathy.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Your facial numbness could be caused by a deficiency in vitamin B12. People who drink an excessive amount of alcohol on a regular basis tend to be at a greater risk of this deficiency. The deficiency can also occur as a result of stomach surgery.
Make sure to consult with your doctor and begin taking a vitamin B12 supplement if you think a vitamin B12 deficiency could be present.
When one has Bell’s Palsy, he or she usually has paralysis and drooping on a single side of the face. It is very rare for the paralysis to occur on both sides, and when it does it can usually be linked to a Lyme disease infection caused by a tick bite. It is possible that Bell’s Palsy could also be linked to herpes or another viral infection. Unlike strokes where the forehead usually appears unaffected, with Bell’s Palsy the entire half of the face has a change in appearance.
Bell’s Palsy sufferers sometimes experience facial muscle twitching. Other symptoms of Bell’s Palsy can sometimes include a strange sensation in the tongue and face, a chance in how tastes are perceived, mouth and eyelid drooping, and drooling. Make sure to see your doctor if you think that you may have Bell’s Palsy.
Trauma, injury, or irritation can lead to pinching and compression of the three branches of the facial nerve. Some of the symptoms of a pinched nerve can include tingling and numbness in a particular part of the face or on a single side of the face. Sharp pain can sometimes be present.
Make sure to see a doctor if you think you might have a pinched nerve, as some sort of treatment may be needed. Pinched nerves do sometimes resolve themselves.
Migraines can sometimes involve mild facial numbness. Numbness is most likely to occur during the prodromal or aural phase of a migraine. Make sure to see a doctor, to make sure that your symptoms are indeed those of a migraine and not another condition.
Spinal cord injury
An injury to, or other problems with, the spinal cord can sometimes result in facial numbness. It has specifically quite recently been found that bulges in the cervical disc can cause symptoms in the face, such as pain or numbness. If your facial numbness if being caused by a problem with the spinal cord, it is likely that you will also notice symptoms of some kind in the neck.
However, rarely the sufferer experiences no noticeable neck symptoms. Make sure to see a medical professional if you think that you may have a spinal cord issue causing facial numbness.
Acoustic Neuroma (sometimes also referred to as Vestibular Schwannoma) is quite a rare condition in which a benign (non-cancerous) tumor develops on the most important nerve that connects your brain and inner ear. Acoustic Neuroma tends to develop rather slowly but on rare occasions it can progress more rapidly.
The pressure caused by an Acoustic Neuroma tumor can cause a variety of symptoms including, for example, facial numbness, a feeling of unsteadiness (problems with balance), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), vertigo (dizziness), and hearing loss. While it is extremely rare, the tumor can sometimes grow so large as to create enough pressure on the brain that vital functions are compromised.
If you think that you might have Acoustic Neuroma, it is vital that you see your doctor right way. Early detection and treatment can make some of the possible serious long-term consequences (such as permanent hearing loss) less likely to occur. Acoustic Neuroma sometimes requires radiation or surgery.
If you have numbness in the nose, lips, or ears, it’s possible that you could have Raynaud’s Disease. Raynaud’s Disease is a disorder involving spasms of the blood vessels. The symptoms of the disease that you experience tend to depend on the severity, frequency, and duration of the spasms.
If you have Raynaud’s Disease, you will likely experience a sort of stinging pain, numbness, or feeling of prickliness when you have stress relief or warming; skin color alterations when you are under stress or cold; and cold toes or fingers. Some people who have Raynaud’s Disease experience numbness and other symptoms in the ears, lips, and nose.
When people with Raynaud’s Disease experience an attack of the disorder, the area of skin affected often become very white in color, and then even blue. There will be a sensation of numbness and coldness. When you recover proper circulation, the problematic areas of skin might become swollen and throbbing, and may have a tingling sensation and red color. The specific symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease tend to vary from patient to patient.
People with Raynaud’s Disease may find that even after warming of the affected are of skin, it can take as long as 15 minutes for the circulation to normalize. Make sure to see a doctor for diagnosis if you think that you may have Raynaud’s Disease. This is especially important if your symptoms are severe.
If you develop an infection or sore of some kind in one of the areas that the disease affects, it is important to receive immediate medical treatment.
Patients with Guillain-Barre Syndromes often find that the symptoms of weakness and tingling begin first in the legs and feet and then move to the upper body. However, it is possible for the symptoms to start in the face or the arms before moving to the lower body in rare cases. Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a serious condition, and can eventually lead to paralysis.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome’s symptoms can include a feeling of weakness in the legs that eventually spreads to the upper body (or in rare cases weakness and numbness in the face and/or arms that spreads to the lower body); a feeing of “pins and needles” or prickling in the wrists, ankles, fingers, toes, or other areas of the body; difficulty in climbing stairs or walking, and unsteadiness in walking; problems with swallowing, chewing or speaking and other facial or eye movements; problems with bowel functioning or control of the bladder; breathing difficulties; high or low blood pressure; rapid heart rate; and/or cramps or achiness that may become more severe at night.
There are several different forms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP) is the most common form of the disorder in the United States. With this form of the syndrome, the muscle weakness tends to begin in the body’s lower parts and then spread to the upper areas.
Another form of Guillain-Barre Syndrome is Miller Fisher syndrome. In Miller Fisher syndrome, the symptom of paralysis begins in the eyes. People who have this form of the disorder tend to have unsteadiness in walking. The Miller Fisher syndrome form of the disorder is most common in Asia.
Other forms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome are acute motor axonal neuropathy and acute motor-sensory axonal neuropathy. These two forms are most common in Mexico, China, and Japan. Make sure to see a doctor right away if you think that you might have any form of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Get emergency assistance if you experience choking on saliva, shortness of breath, or rapidly spreading weakness or tingling.
Brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation)
Unfortunately, in many cases of Brain AVM, the first symptom is the actual brain hemorrhage (bleeding), which is a very serious condition. In other cases, there may be other symptoms leading up to that which can provide warning.
These symptoms may include numbness or muscle weakness in one part of the body; pain or ache in one area of the head; seizures; unsteadiness in standing and walking; speaking difficulties; loss of vision; paralysis of one part of the body; and/or confusion. It is most common for the symptoms of Brain AVM to begin to occur between the ages of 10 and 40.
If you are pregnant, the symptoms of Brain AVM may become worse. This is because of the blood pressure and blood volume changes that tend to occur with pregnancy. A Brain AVM is something that you are born with, and the conditions which cause it are thought to develop before birth.
Brain AVM is more common in men than in women, and you are more likely to have an AVM if you have a history of the condition in your family. Brain AVM’s cause not only serious hemorrhages or bleeding of the brain but also over time can lead to brain damage through a reduction of the oxygen reaching the brain tissue. Make sure to see your doctor right away if you think you might have a Brain AVM.
Sjorgren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder. This means that it causes the immune system to attack itself and the rest of the body. Sjorgren’s Syndrome causes the immune system to primarily attack the mouth and eyes’ moisture-secreting glands.
It can also cause the immune system to attack the nerves, joints, skin, thyroid, lungs, kidneys, and liver. Many people who have this syndrome also have lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or another disorder of the immune system. Sjorgren’s Syndrome most often affects the moisture-secreting glands and mucous membranes of the mouth and eyes early on. You may experience decreased saliva and/or tears production.
People who have this syndrome often have dry eyes (with a gritty, burning, and/or itchy feeling), and a dry mouth (some people say this is like having a mouth full of cotton, and that it can make speaking and swallowing difficult).
They may also have numbness; a dry cough; pain, stiffness, or swelling of the joints; dry skin; rashes; and swelling of the salivary glands. It is most common to be older than 40 when diagnosed with this syndrome.
Women are more likely than men to have Sjorgren’s Syndrome. People with Sjorgren’s Syndrome are more likely to have dental cavities, problems with vision (such as corneal ulcers, sensitivity to light, and blurry vision), and yeast infections (such as oral thrush). If you think that you might have Sjorgren’s Syndrome, make sure to consult with your physician and be examined. He or she will be able to help you manage and relieve various symptoms and effects of the condition.
Vasculitis (also referred to as arteritis and angitis) is inflammation of the blood vessels in your body. This condition creates narrowing, scarring, weakening, and thickening of the blood vessel walls, and these changes cause restriction of blood flow.
Blood flow restriction can lead to damage to the tissues and organs, as well as other very serious problems. There are a number of different specific types of vasculitis, and many types are rare. Your vasculitis may impact only a single organ or several, and may be either chronic (long-lasting) or acute (short-term).
Vasculitis can be caused by a number of different things. Examples include: reactions to specific drugs; types of blood cancer; an immune system disorder, such as lupus, schleroderma, or rheumatoid arthritis; and infections like hepatitis B and C.
Symptoms of vasculitis can include rash; numbness, weakness, or other nerve problems; fever; weight loss; aches and pains; fatigue; night sweats; absence of pulse in a limb; and headache. It is essential to see your doctor as soon as possible if you think that you might have vasculitis.
“The 12 Most Likely Causes of Facial Numbness,” facialhealth.org/causes-of-numbness-in-face
“Numbness in Face,” www.newhealthguide.org/Numbness-in-Face.html
“What Causes Numbness in Face?” www.md-health.com/numbness-in-face.html
“Facial Tingling or Pain Caused by Bulging Disc in Cervical Spine,” http://www.healthhype.com/facial-tingling-or-pain-caused-by-bulging-disc-in-cervical-spine.html
“Guillain-Barre Syndrome,” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/guillain-barre-syndrome/basics/symptoms/con-20025832
“Vasculitis Symptoms,” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vasculitis/basics/symptoms/con-20026049