Facial paresthesia

July 2017


Paresthesia is a sensation of tingling, numbness, burning, loss of sensation (more or less pronounced) in a part of the body. This change in sensitivity is often unpleasant, and can sometimes cause pain. When paresthesia is facial, it usually affects one side of the face and may occur especially following a tooth extraction with anesthesia, trauma (broken nose), allergies or some neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Nerve damage to the nerve that ensures the sensitivity of the face, called the trigeminal nerve, is called trigeminal neuralgia which may be primary, without an identified cause, or secondary to other disease. Another type is called cluster headaches face.


In trigeminal neuralgia, the symptoms are as follows:
  • pain in the face, spontaneous or triggered by chewing;
  • pain that affects only one side of the face;
  • brutal onset, like that of an electric shock.

In the case of cluster headaches:
  • the pain also concerns one side;
  • It is very intense and feels like burning of tearing;
  • it occurs in crises several times a day for several months, and is very poorly tolerated because it is very painful.


In cases of facial paresthesia, usually relatively well described by the patient, it is essential to find the origin. Besides trauma, allergies or dental procedures, facial paresthesia may have a severe neurological cause. To identify the cause, brain imaging is frequently performed, often in the form of an MRI.


To treat facial paresthesia, it is essential to know the cause. Once it is identified, treatment can decrease or cure the paresthesia. In the case of trigeminal neuralgia, anti-epileptic drugs are often effective, or surgical treatment is also possible. Apart from these treatable causes, symptomatic treatment can be undertaken. It will consist of cortisone in the case of multiple sclerosis. For cluster headaches a molecule, sumatriptan, often is efficient. During the evolution of these crises, background therapy is also often used.


Published by Jeff. Latest update on July 23, 2013 at 11:32 AM by Jeff.
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