Read below about facial numbness, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your facial numbness from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Facial Numbness

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced facial numbness. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Panic or Anxiety Attack(s)

    Panic or anxiety attacks are sudden feelings of intense fear or stress without true danger. Symptoms usually peak and then decrease within minutes. One may feel as if they are losing control or have physical symptoms like sweating or a racing heart. A panic attack can be a very scary experience and should be taken seriously.

    Depending on recurrence

    Rarity:
    Common
    Symptoms that always occur with panic or anxiety attack(s):
    anxiety or anxiety/panic attacks
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Bell's Palsy

    Bell's palsy (facial palsy) causes sudden weakness in facial muscles and makes half of the face appear to droop. The exact cause is unknown, but it's believed to be the result of swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of your face or may be a reaction that occurs after a viral infection.

    Weeks to 6 months

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    arm weakness, facial numbness, arm weakness, hearing loss, pain on one side of the face
    Symptoms that always occur with bell's palsy:
    face weakness, weakness in one side of the face
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Nose or Sinus Tumor

    A tumor in the nose or one of the sinuses occurs due to abnormal growth of the cells lining the inside of the nose and sinuses. These tumors are rare and can cause symptoms like congestion or blockage, nose bleeds and sometimes facial pain or swelling.

    Prognosis depends on the size of tumor and whether or not is has spread to other structures like lymph nodes.

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    new headache, congestion, vision changes, ear fullness/pressure, ear pain
    Symptoms that never occur with nose or sinus tumor:
    improving congestion
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  4. 4.Stroke or Tia (Transient Ischemic Attack)

    A stroke is a medical emergency. Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is stopped.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, leg numbness, arm numbness, new headache, stiff neck
    Symptoms that never occur with stroke or tia (transient ischemic attack):
    bilateral weakness
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  5. 5.Multiple Sclerosis (Ms)

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is involved in carrying nerve signals so this damage causes interruptions in nerve signaling.

    This is a lifelong condition; however, treatment may be beneficial.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    severe fatigue, constipation, numbness, decreased sex drive, signs of optic neuritis
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

    Shingles (herpes zoster) is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus - the same virus that causes chickenpox. Early signs of shingles include burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching, usually on one side of the body or face. Rashes or blisters appear anywhere from one to 14 days later. If shingles appears on the face, it may affect vision or hearing.

    An episode usually lasts 2-4 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    symptoms of infection, dizziness, fatigue, rash, diarrhea
    Symptoms that always occur with shingles (herpes zoster):
    grouped rash, rash
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

FAQs About Facial Numbness

Here are some frequently asked questions about facial numbness.

Can facial numbness be a sign of a stroke?

Numbness on one side of the face can be caused by a stroke. Facial numbness will not be the only symptom if a stroke is the cause. Other possible symptoms include numbness and/or weakness in the arm and leg, which can be on the same side or opposite side from the facial numbness depending on the location of the stroke. You should seek emergency treatment if you notice sudden onset of facial numbness, especially if you have any other neurological symptoms.

Why is my face numb only on one side?

Many causes of numbness will affect only one side of the face. A stroke occurs on one side of the brain or brainstem, so only one side of the face is affected by sensory abnormalities. Each side of the face has a trigeminal nerve, which communicates facial sensation to the brain; an abnormality of one of the trigeminal nerves will affect sensation only on the corresponding side. A tumor will cause facial numbness on only one side, while an injury could cause numbness on one or both sides depending on the location.

Will facial numbness eventually go away?

Many causes of facial numbness will resolve on their own or with treatment. Numbness after an injury will likely go away as healing occurs. If multiple sclerosis is the cause, sensation will typically return to normal, but treatment will be required to help prevent future neurological abnormalities. Numbness following a stroke may resolve over time, but the prognosis is unpredictable.

What causes facial numbness after an injury?

Numbness of part of the face can occur after a severe trauma, such as a sports injury or car accident. If the numbness starts directly after the injury, it may be caused by nerve damage that occurred via a fracture of one of the facial bones. Facial numbness that develops gradually after an injury is more likely caused by post-traumatic swelling.

Can facial numbness be a sign of cancer?

Rarely, cancer can be the cause of facial numbness. The trigeminal nerve, which communicates sensory signals from the face to the brain, can be damaged by a tumor of the head and neck or a neighboring nerve. A brain tumor can also cause loss of facial sensation. Facial numbness is unlikely to be the only sign of a tumor: other possible symptoms include hearing loss, a spinning sensation, and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Facial Numbness

  • Q.Have you lost some or all of your sense of taste?
  • Q.Have you been experiencing any muscle weakness that is symmetrical (equal on both sides of your body)?
  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric issue, such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, or anxiety disorder?
  • Q.Are you having any difficulty speaking?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our facial numbness symptom checker to find out more.

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Facial Numbness Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced facial numbness have also experienced:

    • 5% Headache
    • 4% Hand Tingling
    • 2% Fatigue
  • People who have experienced facial numbness had symptoms persist for:

    • 56% Less Than a Day
    • 19% Less Than a Week
    • 13% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced facial numbness were most often matched with:

    • 36% Panic or Anxiety Attack(s)
    • 36% Nose or Sinus Tumor
    • 27% Bell's Palsy
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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