Numbness on the left side of the face can present as a loss of feeling, but it may also produce a tingling or burning sensation. It is also possible for the facial muscles to become paralyzed and unable to move, which can cause one side of the face to droop.
Some of the causes of left sided facial numbness are easily treatable, but others are more serious. In this article, we discuss some possible causes of this symptom and their treatment options.
Strokes and transient ischemic attacks
There are multiple causes of left sided facial numbness.
Sudden numbness of the face is one of the warning signs of a stroke. It can occur on the left or right side and rarely affects the whole face. It is essential to seek immediate medical help for a stroke.
Other warning signs include:
- numbness or weakness in muscles, often affecting one side of the body
- confusion and dizziness
- a severe headache
- difficulty speaking
- visual disturbances
Following a stroke, paralysis or numbness on one side of the body or face may persist.
Transient ischemic attacks share the same symptoms as a stroke, but they do not last as long.
The type of treatment for a stroke will depend on the cause, but it will be immediate. A doctor may use medical procedures, such as inserting a catheter to remove a blood clot, or administer medications, such as blood thinners or antiplatelet drugs.
Following a stroke, the management of symptoms often includes making various lifestyle changes, such as following a healthful diet and quitting smoking.
MS affects the communication between nerves, which restricts the interaction between different parts of the body and brain.
As MS affects nerves all around the body, it can cause a broad range of symptoms. One possible symptom is a sensation of tingling or numbness in different parts of the body, including the face.
There is no cure for MS, but some treatments are available, including steroid medications and disease modifying treatments.
A doctor may recommend eye drops to treat Bell’s palsy.
Bell’s palsy is a sudden weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles that can get worse over 3 to 5 days. It results from inflammation of the seventh cranial nerve, often called the facial nerve. This nerve is responsible for controlling the movement of the facial muscles.
Damage to the facial nerve in Bell’s palsy can cause a weakness or paralysis on one side of the face. Sometimes, numbness can occur as well.
To treat Bell’s palsy, doctors often recommend eye drops to maintain hydration in the eyes. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, other medications can include steroid drugs or antiviral medication.
Physical therapy is also an option to assist the recovery of the facial muscles after Bell’s palsy.
Some infections can result in symptoms that affect the facial muscles.
Without treatment, Lyme disease can progress, potentially causing numbness in one or both sides of the face.
Another example of an infection that can cause facial numbness is shingles. Shingles is a reactivation of a viral infection that affects the nerves. The virus that causes it is the varicella-zoster virus, which is also responsible for chickenpox.
The symptoms of shingles typically occur on one side of the body or face, sometimes in just a small area. They include tingling or numbness, which may affect one side of the face.
People with shingles often use pain relievers, and doctors sometimes prescribe or recommend antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir (Zovirax) and valacyclovir (Valtrex).
Without treatment, migraine headaches typically last for 4 to 72 hours.
In addition to severe pain in the head, a migraine can have several other symptoms, including nausea and sensitivity to light.
Some people experience prodrome symptoms, which are temporary symptoms that occur before a full migraine. One of these symptoms is numbness or a tingling sensation that often affects the hands or the face.
In some people, an aura can occur before, during, or after a migraine. This sensation involves neurological symptoms, such as numbness.
There is no cure for migraine, but some medications, such as erenumab (Almovig), are available to help prevent attacks. Certain lifestyle changes, including regular exercise and stress reduction techniques, may work for some people as an alternative to medication.
When to see a doctor
A person should see a doctor the first time they experience numbness on the left side of the face.
Numbness on the left side of the face can be a sign of several possible conditions.
In some cases, these conditions are severe.
If a person is experiencing the symptom for the first time, it is vital to see a doctor.
If it occurs alongside other signs of a stroke, they will need to seek immediate medical attention.
Numbness on the left side of the face can have a range of different causes, some of which can be serious and require medical attention. In the case of a stroke, immediate medical attention is vital to prevent serious long term harm.
Some causes, such as infections, are easily treatable with the right medications.
It is important to see a doctor when experiencing left sided facial numbness for the first time.
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