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Face/Arm Nerve Pain
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Face/Arm Nerve Pain

Over the past few years I have sporadically had what I think of as nerve pain down my right side of my face and arm. It is a tingling electric feeling, and causes sensitivity to touch and extreme sensitivity to temperatures. When I have this pain when I wash my hands my right hand will be in pain that shoots up to my face. The pain in my face is largely centered on the temple, jaw, eye, but is felt over my the entire half of my head that is effected. I have once or twice had this happen with my left side, but my right side atleast once a month it seems and when it flares can last for several days. I had always figured it was just muscular or possibly linked to my migraines (since they are also usually on my rt side) but started to think I should maybe look more into it.
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Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.

Without the ability to obtain a history from your relative and examine your relative, I can not comment on a formal diagnosis or treatment plan for his/her symptoms. However, I will try to provide you with some information regarding this matter.

Reading your history, a few diagnosis come to mind: cervical disc herniation, trigeminal neuralgia, migraine, Multiple sclerosis

If related to a cervical disc herniation, it would be higher cervical where some of the sensory fibers that supply your face affected).  

The vertebrae (bones of the spine) have material between them to cushion and allow for mobility. This material may be squished out. This is called a herniated disc. It can be squished out centrally or laterally. In most people the pain associated with a herniated disc may resolve within 4-6 weeks. A minority of patients do not respond to medical/conservative management and require surgery.  Symptoms suggesting the need for urgent surgery include muscle weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, loss of sensation, and progressive pain.
A test called EMG/NCS can be performed to determine the extent a nerve is being compressed or damaged by a herniated disc. This test is performed by neurologist at most local offices.

There are several “common” pain syndromes of the face other than headaches. One is a condition called trigeminal neuralgia. This is a type of pain that comes and goes on one side of the face and is severe and sharp when present. When there is no pain, most people are symptom free. It is in the distribution of the trigeminal nerve, hence its name. The pains are usually on the cheek and jaw regions. It usually occurs in people older than 50 years of age. Triggers can include washing the face, shaving, smoking, talking, brushing teeth, etc. The cause is unknown but the thinking is that it is from compression on this nerve. The diagnosis is largely clinical. MRIs may be obtained to rule out other causes or to attempt to identify a cause for the pain, but these tests are most often normal. Treatment includes medications, such as carbamaezpine, gabapentin, and topiramate, that are used in treating seizures. Many pain medications have indications other than pain treatment. Other options include baclofen or clonazepam. If medical therapy is failed, a referral to a neurosurgeon may be an option for consultation regarding trigeminal nerve decompression or radiofrequency ablation.

I would recommend that you do get checked out by your physician.   They may
refer to a neurologist for an EMG/NCS and also a thorough neurological examination to evaluate for other abnormalities.

Thank you for using the forum, I hope you find this information useful, good luck.
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