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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 5485
Experience:  Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience
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I am worried about ongoing right sided numbness I have had

Customer Question

I am worried about ongoing right sided facial numbness I have had for over 2 years. My right ear also pops, the pressure is different and my ear occasionally gets pain and feels itchy inside. I get the numbness on the right side of my mouth and tongue. It comes and goes and can stay for weeks, it is worse when I'm run down or stressed.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 month ago.

So the numbness comes and goes? always in the same locations? any other symptoms (e.g headache, ringing in ears, hearing loss)?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
It comes and goes but is mainly here most of the time. Always in the corner of my mouth, near my ear and cheek. Tingling in my tongue. Chewing helps it briefly go. No headaches, occasional ringing in ears and muffled hearing but no hearing loss. I went up in an aeroplane recently and my right ear popped loads and the facial numbness came on.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 month ago.

It sounds like a form of trigeminal neuralgia, though not the painful type. If one is young, as you are, and only part of the nerve is involved, it can be felt as numbness, tingling or some other altered sensation. But this is the nerve that supplies the region you describe. Somwhere along its path, it is being irritated or temporarily compressed, perhaps. The normal MRI would suggest it is not a problem in the brain near the origin of the nerve, fortunately. Do you get popping sensation when you chew? Do you grind your teeth at night?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
sometimes I get popping sensation when I chew. I don't grind my teeth the dentist did a full check up and said my teeth and jaw are all fine. I find the numbness just a nuisance and worrying. I didn't know there was a different type of less painful trigemineal neuralgia. Is there anything else I can try? The doctors said nothing can be done.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 month ago.

I would get a CT scan of the temporal bones and temporomandibular joints. These structures do not show up well on plain films and cannot be "seen" from the outside. Since the symptoms are neuropathic, they may respond well to a nerve-stablizing medication such as gabapentin or pregabalin. I would not give up until I had done at least these two things.