Facial Numbness on One Side

Facial numbness on one side can be a reason for concern. This article discusses the various factors which could be behind it, and what should be done to deal with it.
In most cases, incidences of numbness in any part of the body happen to be mild. But there are cases wherein, situation can turn serious if medical help is not appraised in time. Most of the time, numbness is a result of some malfunction with the nervous system, which may be caused by injury or medical conditions. The same problem can also be an indication of some issues with the spinal cord or brain, however, it is rare. Here we are talking about facial numbness on one side. More often than not, the numbness disappears on its own. However, when it tends to persist, it is cause for concern. And without any medical treatment, it may progress to complete paralysis. The below content discusses the possible causes of this condition.

Possible Causes of Facial Numbness

The below would brief you on some of the common medical conditions which has facial numbness as one of their side effects.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: an autoimmune disorder, wherein the body's own immune system starts attacking the protective covering of the nerves. This causes a disruption in the messages that travel along the nerves, causing them to slow down or get completely blocked. And due to obvious reasons, this may show up in the form of facial numbness on one side, or on both sides, or in any other body parts.
  • Pinched Nerve: This is another common condition that may be behind headache and facial numbness on one side. This problem occurs when too much pressure is exerted on the nerves by the surrounding tissues. This pressure not only causes numbness, but pain and tingling sensation as well.
  • Bell's Palsy: This medical condition is one of the more specific causes of facial numbness on one side or rarely, both sides. It causes swelling and inflammation of the nerves which control facial muscles. It can cause complete paralysis of the affected area within a span of hours to days. The numbness may be accompanied by pain, headache, loss of taste, and increased hearing sensitivity by the ear on the affected side.
So these three are known to be the most common causes as observed by experts. Apart from these, there are some more conditions which are associated with this condition. They include:
  • Acoustic neuroma (common cause of facial numbness on one side and hearing loss)
  • Alcoholism
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperventilation (defined as a condition of deep and increased rate of breathing)
  • Injury to the head, neck or spine
  • Migraines
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Shingles
  • Spinal tumor
  • Stroke
  • Syphilis
  • Trauma to the face
  • Vasculitis
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
How to Deal With It?

Treatment largely depends on what has triggered the numbness. For instance, let's take into account the condition of Bell's palsy. If this is the root cause of the numbness, then appropriate treatment procedures are put into place to treat it. The good news is most people have a complete recovery from this condition, which can be achieved with treatment and sometimes even without it. Medications that are prescribed consist of steroid injections, and antivirals. Physical therapy is also considered effective, as it helps prevent permanent contractions of muscles. And when all other treatment methods do not respond, surgery is opted to relieve the numbness, pain and tingling sensation.

As mentioned, occasional episodes of facial numbness on one side should not be a cause of serious concern. But once they start to get frequent and worse, then consider it as a warning sign of something amiss in the body. So visit a doctor, and find out what the real problem is.
By Rajib Singha
Published: 3/10/2011
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