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Feeling or sensation changes in the face

Certain medical conditions can cause weakness, paralysis, numbness, tingling, drooping, or muscle spasms in the face.

Weakness, paralysis, or drooping facial muscles with other loss of function may be caused by a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a stroke. These conditions require emergency medical care.

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  • Viral infections such as shingles may affect nerves in the face or head, causing tingling, severe facial pain, or eye problems (keratitis).
  • Bell's palsy is caused by paralysis of the facial nerve. Weak and sagging muscles on one side of the face is the most common symptom. It also may cause an inability to close one eye and mild pain in the facial muscles.
  • Multiple sclerosis may affect facial muscle control and strength, vision, and cause changes in feeling or sensation.
  • Myasthenia gravis causes facial muscle weakness leading to drooping eyelids and difficulty talking, chewing, swallowing, or breathing.
  • Lyme disease is an infection that is spread by the bite of ticks infected with a bacteria. It may cause facial pain, headache, stiff neck, or facial paralysis.

Spasms in the muscles of the face (tics) are bothersome but usually not a cause for concern.

Treatment for changes in feeling or sensation in the face depend on what is causing the problem.

Author Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Updated May 11, 2009

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 11, 2009
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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