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Facial Numbness
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Facial Numbness

I am having a problem with constant facial numbness.  I am a forty-three year old female.  Around my fortieth birthday I started getting migraines around the end of my cycle (but not exclusively).  I went to my GP and was put on birth control pills with fewer migraines as a result.  

I was diagnosed with tinnitus about fifteen years ago.  My hearing over the last fifteen years became impaired enough that I required hearing aids in both ears (moderate hearing loss).  In searching for the root cause of my hearing loss I had an MRI to look for acoustic neuroma.  The results for neuroma were negative.  However, there was an incidental finding of a pea-sized meningioma on the left side of my head .  The meningioma was not around any nerves.  I also had a cat-scan and EEG which both returned normal results.  While surgery is not indicated presently, I am to have a cat-scan every two years to detect any change in size of the tumour.   I asked the neurosurgeon if my facial numbness and migraines could be related to this tumour and he indicated that this was not the case.  Both my neurologist and my neurosurgeon feel that the migraines cause the numbness.  Although I have left side facial numbness constantly, during a migraine it intensifies to include the left side of my jaw and tongue.

This constant numbness is a big concern to me as I average a migraine about once a month.  I do not have any of the facial disfigurement or drooping of eyelids which are often associated with similar numbness.  Any information you could provide, advice or diagnosis would be greatly appreciated, as already stated, this condition is a cause of great concern to me.

                                 Thanks, Gwen
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Dear Gwen:

I am sorry to hear about your facial numbness.  I would agree with your neurologist and neurosurgeon that your meningioma is not the cause of your symptoms. The good news is that your brain MRI is completely normal (save for the above meningoma).  Migraines can cause facial numbness, but it is abit unusual to cause numbness of the entire fact (not stated in you note but by your description I am assuming that it is both sides of the face).  There is a condition where the head (one side of the head and face) becomes numb during a headache.  However, I am not aware that it occurs on both sides.  Since it is both sides of your face, I would look into seeing a headache specialist and see if a nerve block might make things better, or botox injections.  But, first I would seek a consultation from a headache expert, such as at the headache clinic at Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia or at the Diamond Clinic in Chicago.  Sorry, I can't offer much help.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
4 Comments
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Thank you for your quick response.  I mustn't have made it clear that the facial numbness was indeed just on the left side of my face.  You mentioned that there is a condition where one side of the face becomes numb during a headache.  I would be interested in knowing any information you might have about this condition.  Is it something I should be tested for?

                           Thanks again,
                           Gwen
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10 days ago my wife had a migraine.  Though she has suffered with headaches thru much of her life, she has never been diagnosed as having migraines.  For her it was a doosey and had her in tears.  With the onset came a numbness to the entire left side of her face. Almost as though a line was drawn down the middle. It extends from the top-back of her head and down to her chin.  She was treated with Demarol and released.  10 days later, the numbness continues.  She has ms (diag in 91).  Went to her neurologist who said the numb wasn't from ms but diag her with a sinus infection.  She eventually got on zithromax but has had no relief.  She has'nt experienced the sinus-type drainage that normally occurs.  An ENT said she may have an infection but sid the Zith. wasn't good for it.  Now she's got Laviquin that she's starting today.  Needless to say, she's a wreck and is getting no relief, let alone an answer.  Have you got any?
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I am very interested to hear about Bob's wife as I am going through the same thing. 2 weeks ago I got a migraine and my left side if my face has been numb ever since. It's the second time
this year. It went away the first time after about 4 weeks.
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A related discussion, Migraines and numbness was started.
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A related discussion, Why does numbness occur during migraines? was started.
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A related discussion, Numbness on left side of face was started.
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