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What Is Facial Paresthesia?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 March 2014
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Facial paresthesia is a medical term used to describe a feeling of numbness and tingling of the face and is typically caused by damage to the trigeminal nerve. Symptoms often include a feeling of pins and needles or facial tightness and numbness. In addition to nerve damage, paresthesia of the face may be caused by cold temperatures, nutritional deficiencies, or a variety of other medical conditions. In many cases, the exact cause of this condition remains unknown, even after extensive medical testing.

Most cases of facial paresthesia do not indicate the presence of a severe or life-threatening illness. If the facial numbness and tingling are accompanied by numbness of one or both arms or legs, emergency medical assistance should be sought in order to make sure the patient has not suffered a stroke. The onset of any sudden symptoms of facial paresthesia should be reported to a doctor for further medical evaluation.

Nerve damage is the leading cause of facial paresthesia and may be the result of traumatic injury or natural disease processes. Multiple sclerosis and diabetes are two major contributing factors to the development of this condition. Dental issues, especially those involving the jaw or the primary facial nerve, known as the trigeminal nerve, are also prone to causing numbness and tingling of the face.

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Hormone irregularities, nutritional deficiencies, and exposure to cold temperatures may cause temporary facial paresthesia. Some medications, especially those used to treat epilepsy or other seizure disorders, may cause the face to feel numb. The symptoms typically go away once the underlying cause has been treated. If the symptoms persist, a doctor may order a variety of medical tests, including x-rays and blood work, in an attempt to locate the cause of the symptoms.

Treatment for facial paresthesia depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Prescription medications are frequently used, although not everyone experiences relief through the use of oral medications. Injections may be given directly into the trigeminal nerve, or surgical intervention may be used in an attempt to repair any damage to the facial nerves. If the symptoms are caused by brain damage, as in the case of a stroke, there may not be any successful methods of treatment available. The supervising physician will discuss all available treatment options with the patient so that an individualized plan of care can be developed.

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Discuss this Article

stoneMason
Post 3

@feruze-- It could be. Do you have any other symptoms aside from numbing, tingling, pins and needles? Have you spoken to a doctor about it?

There are so many possible causes of facial paresthesia that it's not possible to diagnose the problem without considering other symptoms, the person's general health and diagnostic testing.

For example, diabetes can cause facial paresthesia, but so can poisoning. It can also be due to injury or even accompanying symptoms of a migraine. So there is no way that anyone can diagnosed you from afar.

bear78
Post 2

I'm not sure if it's facial paresthesia or not, but I have these symptoms when I have an anxiety attack. Is this normal?

fify
Post 1

I drove in an open car for ten hours and developed facial paresthesia. I couldn't feel one side of my face and went to the emergency. The doctor said that it's probably due to the cold wind affecting the nerves in my face. He asked me to rest and stay warm and to come back if the symptoms don't disappear.

In about three days, the paresthesia disappeared. I never knew that something like wind could cause this. It was scary but now I know not to put myself in that situation again.

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