Face Numbness

What causes numbness in face? Facial numbness or hypesthesia commonly takes place due to dysfunction of the trigeminal nerveor its branches. This nerve is the main sensory nerve innervating the face area. There are also a few other causes of numbness in face.

Numbness (hypesthesia or hypoesthesia) describes the absence of skin sensations (either partial or total) over a part of body. Numbness usually represents nerve dysfunction however can take place in certain flaws in the central nerve system (brain and spine). It is also regularly connected with paraesthesias (pins and needles sensation, tingling, etc.).

Numbness in face can accompany the damage or dysfunction of the branches of the cranial nerve supplying the face region (trigeminal nerve). Less commonly, it can be due to particular brain dysfunctions or can be psychogenic.

Dysfunction of the facial nerve (as in Bell’s Palsy) will generally not cause numbness as it carries innervations for the muscles of the face and not sensations from the skin.

facial numbness

Facial numbness on image

The table provided below lists the numerous crucial causes of numbness in face.

Table: Causes of Numbness in Face

Causes Description
Peripheral Neuropathy Peripheral nerve dysfunctions (trigeminal nerve in this case) can take place due to variety of factors.
Most common causes are vitamin deficiency, diabetes mellitus, excessive alcohol consumption, lead poisoning. There are myriad other causes of peripheral neuropathy.
Electrolyte Imbalances (abnormal blood levels of calcium or potassium or salt) can likewise lead to nerve dysfunction.
Multiple Sclerosis Autoimmune damage to outer protective covering of the nerves (myelin sheath) results in multiple sclerosis.
Symptoms are extremely variable relying on the sector of nervous system involved.
MS affecting trigeminal nerve or brain areas dealing with facial sensations can lead to numbness of the face.
Nerve Injury (Trauma, Positional) Injury to the numerous branches of the trigeminal nerve can cause facial numbness.
Normally, when just a particular branch is injured, the area of numbness is restricted to the region of the face innervated by that branch.
Nerve injury can happen due to injury or oversleeping awkward position (leading to extended compression of the nerve).
Migraine The acoustic stage and/or the prodromal phase of the migraine can have facial numbness as one of the symptoms.
Less commonly, facial numbness can continue or occur exclusively during the headache stage.
Transient Ischemic Attack TIA or “mini-stroke” occurs when blood circulation to a part of brain is interrupted for a short amount of time.
TIA can present with range of symptoms depending upon which part of the brain is impacted. TIA including the region of brain dealing with facial sensations can result in short period of facial numbness. Often, other symptoms are likewise present.
Generally there is full recovery after an attack with no neurological deficit or mental retardation. Nevertheless, TIAs are cautioning signs of an upcoming stroke that may happen anytime.
Stroke Stroke can lead to facial numbness. However, other more severe symptoms like paralysis, or transformed consciousness, and so on dominate the presentation of the stroke.
Brain Tumors Brain growths can result in facial numbness.
Numb Chin Syndrome Numbness is restricted to chin area.
Normally caused by trauma, but can happen in cancers also when they infect the jaw bone and invade the nerve innervating the chin region. (e.g. acute myeloid leukemia, prostate adenocarcinoma, osteoblastic osteosarcoma, breast cancer and much more).
Trigeminal Neuralgia A “seizure” occurring in the trigeminal nerve.
Rarely trigeminal neuralgia can lead to facial numbness. However, facial numbness preceding the extreme pain is most likely to take place.
Shingles Shingles or Herpes zoster can hardly ever have facial numbness in the prodromal stage (i.e. before the look of painful skin blisters).
Nevertheless, more frequently pain and paraesthesias happen in the prodromal stage.
Nerve Tumors or Invasion of nerve by tumors Trigeminal nerve (including branches) growths (e.g. Schwannomas) or invasion of the nerve by close-by tumor (e.g. Meningioma) can lead to facial numbness.
Focal Seizures Seizures confined to areas of the brain managing facial sensation can result in facial numbness.
Hypothyroidism Facial numbness can happen in hypothyroidism. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism will control the discussion.
Psychogenic  conditions Stress, depression and anxiety attack can result in facial numbness.
Idiopathic cases In some cases no cause can be discovered even after comprehensive neurological evaluation. Such cases are described as idiopathic cases.

Last Update - September 21, 2017


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures. Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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