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facial numbness
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by tof, Feb 28, 2006
I've experienced facial numbness for 7+ months. It is exactly half my face and only numbness, with no accompanying paralysis. My tongue, throat, left arm and outermost 2 fingers are occasionally affected.  I've also had pain & vision problems in my left eye (problems focusing - come and goes).  Occasionally, I get flashes/waves of numbness across the right side of my face/ear as well. I am extremely fatigued (but have two small children, am trying to finish a graduate degree and have a busy life, so?). I get frequent colds, conjunctivitis and sinus infections. Have had swollen, stiff fingers for years (not severe). Occasional severe vertigo (min - days) prob. allergy-related. Normal CT & MRI (w/o contrast). Mother died of PSP. No family history of ms.

1) What tests shd be done if sympoms do not resolve themselves? What other possible causes could there be for such symptoms (that have not already been ruled out by tests for thyroid, Lyme, CT and MRI)?

2) Could sympoms that last for this length of time possibly be a manifestation of a migraine aura?  I had two bad migraines, but these seemed to be isolated incidents related only to the use of Provera, and never reoccurred once I stopped the medication.  If yes, is there any migraine medication that can be taken to prevent "aura-only" migraines if they are disabilitating?  (Tried tablets to be take upon the start of the headache, which did nothing except cause a nasty drop in blood pressure).

3)Cd these symp. be adverse effects from Effexor use (lowest dose)? I've NO symptoms indicative of a panic disorder!

THANX
Answer:
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by CCF-Neuro-M.D.-PW, Mar 04, 2006
Left and Right facial numbness can localize to the trigeminal nerve on both sides anywhere from its origin in the brainstem through the nerve roots and the peripheral parts of the nerve that supply sensation to the face.

There are a few typical things that can cause bilateral symptoms. Lyme is one of them, but is relatively rare,depending on where you live (the tick that transmits Lyme only lives in certain areas such as New England). Sarcoid is another possible cause for bilateral cranial nerve dysfunction - tests include a chest xray, and sometimes a conjunctival biopsy. Diabetes is another diagnossi to consider.

Another cause is MS, and this might need to be looked into by your doctors although you do not seem to fulfill any criteria for this diagnosis as yet - a visual evoked potential test given your visual symptoms may be appropriate, and an MRI as you have already had done. A normal MRI is not suggstive of MS. If the tests are still negative, a spinal fluid analysis may be necessary.

2) Migraine can cause symptoms without headache, usually in older patients with a prior histroy of migraine. I don't know how old you are, but in any case, this would be a diagnosis of exclusion.

3) unlikely

Good luck
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Member Comments (39)
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by tof, Feb 28, 2006
PS. I am 44 years old.
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by bdrn, Mar 02, 2006
I too have similar symptoms that started 7 months ago:  Left sided facial/tongue/palate numbness, left hand and foot numbness (altered sensations).  Occasionally felt on right side face. Numbness pretty constant except for occasional episodes of some decrease in numbness. Have had all the routine blood work, all negative.  Had head MRI w/out contrast...NORMAL results.  Cervical MRI normal except for multiple areas of disc protrusions. History of hernaited disc L4-5, already had one disc repaired. Now being sent to a stroke specialist for eval, although doctor doesn't think it's a stroke.  Said maybe a problem with a small vessel in my head. Doesn't think it's MS at this point. No one can give me an answer as of yet.  Only thing I can relate the numbness to is it all seemed to start (with left face intermittent numbness) a few years ago when I started taking statin drugs for high cholesterol.  Are you on any medications?  Hope you get an answer---maybe that can help me out too!  Good luck.
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by rsrn, Mar 03, 2006
Hi, I have a similar dilemma. I "passed out" in the shower-woke up with horrible vertigo-Right facial numbness and weakness in both legs. I now see "floaters" and have trouble swallowing. Two er visits and an admission later-no answers. MRI w and w/o gad show "empty sella" which doesn't explain any symptoms. I can't work or take care of my family. No one can explain any cause except "maybe viral inner ear infection". I feel like they think I'm crazy. I've never been sick before. Good luck-maybe we can both get some answers
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by dmed76, Mar 04, 2006
Have had similar symptoms for over 2 years now.  I am a 30 year old mother of 3 girls and starting to really get frustrated with the symptoms.  Test after test has come back negative and tingling and vision is slowly getting worse.  Neurologist has no answers and is going to send nme for University evaluation.  Hope I can get some answers to share with you.  Good luck!
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by teefig, Mar 06, 2006
I have been experiencing almost the same symptoms. Left facial numbness (with tongue occasionally numb) and twitching in the left side of my lip. I have gone through all the same types of test: Blood, Lyme, EKG, Ecocardiogram, MRI of Brain & Cervical Spine all NORMAL, but EEG (measurment of brain waves) test came back with "An Extraordinary weakness in the left side of my brain"!!!!????? The doctor wants me to go into the hospital for 3 days of monitoring. To see what is exactly happening in my brain when I have the "episodes" (the twitching, etc.) I dont understand why all these people are coming out with these symptoms, and NO DOCTYORS know what it is???!!!! Frustrated along with all of you :)
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by bdrn, Mar 06, 2006
Wow, I thought I was the only one with these symptoms.  I am a RN, yet never came across anyone with similar symptoms.  My neurologist did mention that sometimes women have these symptoms, and they never find a cause, it's just something going on with something in the brain.  I wish I knew what causes it because I am frightened an MRI might show MS (in the future).  Will let everyone know what happens when I see the stroke specialist in a few weeks. Also, neurologist did mention he wanted to get another head MRI at some point. So, it seems we all wait and see if someone can come up with an answer.  Good luck to all.
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by Pickup1, Mar 08, 2006
I started having numbness and tingling on the right side of my face, so far just the outter area, almost 2 yrs. ago. I was 5 1/2 months pregnant with my second child. Ob told me to go see a Neurologist, but by the time I could get in all of it had gone away. It comes and goes, sometimes it is worse than other times. I also will wake in the middle of the night flat of my back but unable to move my arms b/c they are so numb. Sometimes it both arms, sometimes it's just one arm. I had a pcp tell me when I was 16 he thought I had very early stages of MS. I've had MRI's w and w/o contrast and nothing shows up. I'm 30 now, at the right time for MS to really be surfacing.
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by jmomtotc, Mar 08, 2006
Symptoms like these are frustrating.  I too have been dealing with strange things that are going on with me.  I have been having arm and finger numbness on both sides with my right arm being worse.  Both of my legs twitch and the muscles seem to burn when I am resting, my muscles seem tight in my entire leg and feet.  My legs feel very heavy and I have also had vision disturbances in my right eye, vertigo and my hands seem very uncoordinated.  this has been going on for three weeks, I have made an appt with doctor for today but have been to the clinic and my husband made me go to er two days ago when my face and neck went numb and I had a hard time talking.  Both places told me it was anxiety which really bothered me as I was not anxious until this started happening.  At first I was worried I had als or a brain tumour but have talked myself out of that.  Any ideas what this could be?  I have two young children and I am becoming a nervous wreck!  I am 30yrs old and other than vertigo and some numbness in my hand about 4 months ago nothing like this has ever happened.  Thanks