Unless you’ve been standing outside in the cold for too long, there aren’t many reasons that your face should feel numb. If you’ve lost feeling in your face, you could be experiencing a symptom of a more serious medical condition (via Medical News Today). But before you panic, learn about the different causes of facial numbness and what other symptoms you should be on the lookout for in case your condition is something that might need medical attention.
Numbness is usually caused by something compressing the nerves, nerve irritation, or nerve damage (via Mayo Clinic). Nerves are what allow you to feel sensations such as touch, temperature, and pain (via WebMD). Your facial sensations and movements are controlled by a pair of nerves that run down each side of your head. If your facial numbness is accompanied by symptoms such as difficulty speaking or swallowing, vision loss, or a severe headache, you could be experiencing a stroke. While not necessarily common in younger people, strokes are caused by blocked or burst arteries. Call 911 immediately if you suspect you are having a stroke.
Pay attention to these other symptoms
Other causes of facial numbness include Multiple Sclerosis, which happens when your immune system attacks the outer covering that protects your nerves, leaving them vulnerable to damage (via WebMD). Numbness is the most common sign of Multiple Sclerosis, but is usually accompanied by loss of vision, bladder control, and coordination (via Healthline). A physical examination and various tests can help determine if you have Multiple Sclerosis. If your numbness occurs only on one side of your face and is accompanied by muscle weakness or paralysis, you could be suffering from a condition called Bell’s Palsy. It’s commonly caused by the herpes virus, but can also be triggered by the flu virus and a host of other conditions (via Medical News Today).
Another cause of facial numbness may be a migraine. Numbness could show up along with auras and headaches, but may not present in ways that seem typical of a migraine. Finally, a more common cause of numbness in the face is allergies. When the immune system reacts to a foreign substance, it can cause tingling or numbness, alongside a scratchy throat, coughing, sneezing, or a rash. In severe cases known as anaphylaxis, allergic reactions need immediate medical attention due to trouble breathing, a drop in blood pressure, or throat swelling. If you experience facial numbness, especially if it reoccurs or does not go away quickly, seeking out medical advice is probably your best bet for getting to the bottom of the issue.
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