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Stroke

Right temple numbness

05/03/2006

Question:

For several years, I have experienced a short-lived numbness in my right temple/ear area. It usually lasts anywhere from a few seconds to a few (5) minutes. It will occur maybe once or up to 3 or 4 times on a single day, a few minutes apart. Usually, I have experienced this 2 or 3 times a year. It has never presented any other problems so I have never had it checked. I mentioned it once to my doctor and he didn`t seem concerned, so I wasn`t either.

Recently, though, like the last 3 days, I have had the same quick, numbness a couple of times a day. Normally, I have noticed it only for a day and then not again for several months or longer. But now for 3 days in a row, it just concerns me a little more, but it never happens when I am at a Dr. appt. I guess my question is: can they check for anything when the numbness is not present, because it does not last long at all. Or is it anything that I even need to have checked? And what sorts of tests would they run? I have never had pain or numbness in any other part of my body.

Answer:

There is a painful condition that comes intermittently and is short-lived involving one side of the head.   Do your symptoms include pain?  The condition is called trigeminal neuralgia.

You can read about it at the following link (below), and then decide if you have it.  If yes, there are treatments.  If you don't fit perfectly, you still might consider mentioning this to your physician, as you might have an atypical case.  If not trigeminal neuralgia, then I am not sure what it is.

On the other hand, if it is not painful, not permanent, and thus not bothering you (with no other symptoms), then it is probably okay not to worry about it.  Certainly if something changes, or if you develop new associated symptoms, then this should be evaluated carefully by your physician. 

I hope this helps.  Good luck.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/trigeminal_neuralgia/trigeminal_neuralgia.htm

 

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Response by:

Brett   Kissela, MD Brett Kissela, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Neurology Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati