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braindr11, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
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Experience:  Neurologist with outstanding expertise
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I have a slight numbness on the left side of my face, and

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I have a slight numbness on the left side of my face, and the GPs I've seen have found no nerve issues. All tests and blood pressure seemed OK. I have a neurologist appointment, but it's almost 8 months away.
I'm curious as to what this might be. It's localized on the left side of my face, beside my eye and above the ear ( in front of the hair line ).
I've notice that when I get startled, it'll sometimes shoot tingles up the left side of my face for a second, then go away. A good movie trailer gave me goose-bumps once, and it made my face tingle on the left side for a minute.
I've had this for almost 6 months. It's very slight, and almost always present, feeling a bit like Novocain. No tingling most the time, and never any pain.
braindr11 : This might be the early signs of a condition called "trigeminal neuralgia" this is due to irritation of the trigeminal nerve that carries sensation from your face into the brain. You will need an MRI of the brain with contrast and an MRA to rule out structural problems that maybe irritating the nerve. Best of luck, dr. A, Board Certified Neurologist

I've looked up the condition, "trigeminal neuralgia" and it seems that the main characteristic in identifying it is sharp pains; however, I've had no pain at all. I do notice sometimes that the top of my hands can get the same feeling, but so very slightly that I don't really notice it unless I think about it.

braindr11 : You're absolutely right that quick sharp pains are characteristic of TN but even slight tingling can be due to involvement of the trigeminal nerve on that side. That's why you would need an MRI and MRA to look for strucural causes that maybe irritating the trigeminal nerve and in a sense present as a TN mimic so to speak. HOWEVER if you have hand numbness and face numbness at the same time then we maybe dealing with perhaps a TIA and that as well will need an MRI and MRA. ..

Ok, sorry but I have just one more question and I'll accept the answer. Thanks for your input so far. The appointment I have with the neurologist is not for almost 8 months. If you think a TIA could be possible, is there someone else I should speak to to have an MRI sooner? From what I understand, a TIA could mean a full stroke in not much time after and needs looked into? I've also been having these symptoms for 6 months now with little change. I'm only 29 so I'm surprised it'd be something like that. I'm not sure if this is relevant, but the hand numbness I get is very faint and usually on my right hand only.. if it's there at all. It comes and goes, is VERY faint, and is always only on the top of my hand.


One more bit of information. I looked up TIA and found the following symptoms:

  • numbness or weakness on one side of the body

  • trouble speaking, such as slurring of speech or loss of ability to speak

  • drooping of one side of the face

  • visual problems, such as loss of vision in one eye, or double vision

  • Other symptoms can include dizziness or trouble with balance, confusion, or severe headache

The numbness on the face is weird, because it's not really numb. I have full feeling in it when it's touched or pricked (the GP did this test on me). It's just that it feels a little.. frozen.. when it's not being touched at all.


I have no trouble speaking, or face drooping or visual problems. The GP also tested this on me by making me raise eyebrows and blow out cheeks, then follow the finger with my eyes and such. Everything there was normal. I also have no headaches (maybe very slight ones sometimes.. sort of like a caffeine withdrawl feeling than a full out headache), no doziness and balance issues and no confusion.

braindr11 : Hi there .. I'm happy to answer you ... The reason I'm saying TIAs is that we as Neurologists are trained to think of the more serious possibilities and take care of those first even of the suspicion is low. As you correctly stated if TIA is undiagnosed and untreated it may lead to a stroke in a few months ... I know being in your late 20s and with stable symptoms make not very likely but I would recommend taking 1 baby aspirin a day until you see the neurologist. It's not likely to hurt but potentially may prevent a stroke if those were truly TIAs ... Lastly, the hand numbness maybe just carpal tunnel syndrome and unrelated to the face numbness ... In any case if it was carpal tunnel it wouldn't be serious if it's mild ... Best of luck ...
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