What Causes Numbness in the Left Side of the Face

What causes Numbness in the Left Side of the Face?

Numbness on Left Side of Body:

The symptoms are similar to those on right side of your body. But there are some differences. For example, it is not just a pain that occurs at the site where the nerve endings touch. There is also a sensation that occurs at other parts of your body.

These sensations are called somatic sensations.

Somatic Symptoms:

There are different types of somatic symptoms that occur on the left side of the body. They include: Headache, Neck Pain, Muscle Stiffness, Tingling or Paresthesia (Pain), Dizziness, Sensation in the Legs and Feet, and Spasms. Some of these symptoms may last only for a few minutes while others may persist for several hours.


Headaches are the most common type of somatic symptom that occur on the left side of the body. They affect both men and women equally. The headaches usually begin suddenly with no warning signs. They may come in waves or they may continue throughout the day.

Sometimes they last from a few seconds to half an hour and sometimes longer than that. Headaches are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue and weakness.


Spasms are sudden, involuntary contractions of the muscles. They can be felt on any part of the body. They may be painful or painless. Some people experience extreme spasms that cause a 140 degree angle at the elbow or knee.

Other people experience muscle contractions that begin in the neck and move down the left arm.

Face Numbness, tingling and pain:

The face is a common site for numbness, tingling and pain on the left side. The symptoms usually affect the muscles of the forehead, temple, jaw, cheekbone and neck. Sometimes one side of the upper lip may become numb. Muscles of mastication (chewing) may or may not be affected.

The area around the ear may have tingling and numbness.

The site and character of the pain is important in deciding what is causing it. For example, if you experience pain in the jaw, cheekbone and lower left side of the face, then the cause may be a problem with the left temporal mandibular joint. On the other hand, if the pain extends to the neck then it may be a sign of a more serious disorder such as angina or a heart attack.

Nausea and Vomiting:

Nausea is an unpleasant feeling of having a headache, sickness, dizziness, lightheadedness and general discomfort in the stomach. Vomiting is the emptying of the stomach’s contents through the mouth and often follows nausea. It does not always occur when there is nausea.

Difficulty Swallowing:

When you have difficulty in swallowing it may be due to pain or swelling of the throat. This causes narrowing of your windpipe making it difficult to breathe normally.


Sometimes weakness in the face, arm or leg may be felt on one side of the body. This is usually quite noticeable and occurs in addition to other symptoms such as numbness tingling or pain.

Difficulty Concentrating:

Difficulty in concentrating or a decrease in mental sharpness may be experienced on one side of the head or the other. Changes in the ability to hear sometimes accompany neurological symptoms as well, because hearing and neurology are closely related in the brain.

Speech Problems:

In some people who have aphasia, there is difficulty in speaking. A person may slur their speech or have difficulty in finding the right words to use in a sentence. Another type of speech problem is called dysarthria when a person has difficulty in controlling the muscles used for speech. This causes the speech to sound abnormal, it may be slow and slurred and difficult to understand.


Seizures are generally defined as sudden, excessive electrical activity in a group of brain cells. This excessive electrical activity causes a transient change in behavior due to the synchronization of the abnormal electrical impulses. The short burst of abnormal electrical activity affects consciousness. There are many types of seizures.

Seizures can be caused by problems in many parts of the brain. Some seizures have a known cause such as head trauma, but most do not.

Seizures can have many different types of symptoms which affect different parts of the body. Some of the more common symptoms are:

Automatism: Involuntary movements that are often repetitive and sometimes purposeful. Some involuntary movements are rapid, brief muscle contractions (myoclonus) while others involve longer and more elaborate sequences of movement (dyskinesia). Most of these are stereotyped, which means they occur over and over and over again in exactly the same way every time.

Automatic behavior: These can include behavioral automatisms such as experiences that feel and appear like a dream (daydream-like experiences). These can also be more complex automatic actions such as elaborately carrying out a particular sequence of actions such as going into a store, picking up a certain product, taking it to the cashier and paying for it.

Automatic Emotional Responses: These experiences can include sudden and intense emotional responses such as fear, panic, sadness or even euphoria that seem to just “come out of nowhere”. These are not related to anything in the person’s current situation.

Aura: Auras are experienced by many people just before or just after the occurrence of a seizure. Some people experience an aura without going on to have a seizure, these are called presaging aura’s. Other people do not experience an aura before their seizure, these are called encoding aura’s. Auras can be many different things, some auras feel strange or weird, some cause visual experiences, other auras are felt as changes in the air, these might be described as a feeling of “electricity” in the air.

Aura’s can vary greatly from person to person and from seizure to seizure for the same person. Some people have complicated or frightening auras, others have simple or reassuring auras, and some don’t have any aura at all.

Some auras are so well known that they have been given names such as:

Aura with olfactory (smell) sensations

Aura with psychic feelings

Aura with somesthetic (touch) sensations

Aura with special awareness

These particular aura’s are described in detail further down in this paper.

Aura without Seizure

Some people experience auras without going on to have a seizure, these are called presaging aura’s. Some people do not experience an aura before their seizure, these are called encoding aura’s.

Presaging Aura: These types of aura are often described as a feeling of “impending doom” or “déjà vu”.

Encoding Aura: These types of aura are often described as “I feel funny” or “I have a funny feeling”

Types Of Seizures

Seizures are divided into two major groups, generalized and partial.

Generalized Seizures:

The entire brain is involved in this type of seizure. There are three different types of generalized seizures.

Tonic-Clonic Seizures (formerly called “Grand Mal”): These are the type most people think of when someone mentions the word “seizure”. The person suddenly loses muscle control (tonic), then immediately begins shaking and convulsing (clonic). This type of seizure usually lasts for about a minute. Afterward, the person usually sleeps or is very sleepy for a while.

Tonic Seizures: During this type of seizure, the person’s muscles suddenly contract or stiffen, causing the person to fall down if standing. This is the kind of seizure Mohammed had when he was visited by Gabriel.

Atonic (“Drop”) Seizures: During this type of seizure, the person’s muscles suddenly become very limp. The person may make strange movements with their arms and legs before they fall down.

Focal Seizures:

These seizures occur only in one part of the brain. There are many different types, ranging from those that cause a person to blink repeatedly, to those that cause a person to become unaware of their surroundings and wander aimlessly.

Partial Seizures:

These seizures occur when abnormal electrical activity takes place only in one part of the brain. There are many different types of partial seizures.


It should also be noted that not all people who experience aura’s or partial seizures have epilepsy, and not everyone who has epilepsy experiences aura’s or partial seizures, therefore it is a good idea to visit a physician if you think you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of this nature.

Now that the basics of what an aura is and what causes them has been explored, it is time to move on to the more complicated issues, such as the types of auras and what they mean.

The most common types of auras are olfactory (smell), psychic, somesthetic (touch), and visual. As mentioned before, not everyone who has epilepsy experiences an aura, therefore these types of auras are not limited to just those who have epilepsy.

Olfactory Auras:

These auras involve the sense of smell. Usually the smells are described as pleasant, such as the smell of fresh baked cookies. These smells can sometimes, but not always, be influenced by your own personal desire to smell something. A very common related symptom with this type of aura is the uncontrollable urge to eat whatever it is that your sense of smell is detecting.

Psychic Auras:

These auras involve sensations which are not tangible, such as emotions. These cannot be influenced by one’s own personality. These range from feelings of hatred to being watched.

Somesthetic Auras:

These auras involve sensations which can be felt by touch. These can range from feelings of numbness to uneasy feelings.

Visual Auras:

These auras are the most commonly known and understood auras, as they involve the sense of sight. Usually the visions experienced are very vivid and detailed, and are sometimes described as hallucinations. These can sometimes be influenced by the person’s own experiences or desires.

The combination of an aura followed by a seizure is known as an “aura seizure”. It is also common for a person to experience multiple auras before the onset of the seizure, these are known as “pre-ictal auras” or “warning auras”.

Although the majority of epilepsy cases experience the typical aura before the seizure, it is not unheard of for some people to experience an aura which warns them of an oncoming seizure. This is known as a “pro-ictal aura” or a “risk aura”. There are some cases in which a person may experience an aura which acts as a trigger, which then causes the seizure. These are known as “post-ictal auras”.

It is also possible for a person to experience more than one type of aura before a seizure. Although this is uncommon, it still takes place.

There are also other types of auras which are not commonly known, such as:

Gustatory Auras:

These auras involve the sense of taste. These can range from tastes such as sweetness to bitterness. This type of aura only occurs in rare cases of epilepsy.

Olfactory-Gustatory Auras:

These auras involve the senses of smell and taste. These usually occur in the same cases as Gustatory Auras.

These types of auras are very uncommon, and it is usually an underlying condition which causes these. These types of auras can also be linked to other underlying medical conditions, such as brain tumors. It is usually recommended to get a thorough examination by a neurologist in order to identify the cause of the uncommon aura and resulting seizures.


“Differences Between Auras” by Mark K. Horton M.D.

“Auras and Pre-Ictal Symptoms” by Jennifer Rabideau

“Seizures and Epilepsy: Hope through Research” by The American Epilepsy Society

“Auras and the Pre-Ictal Period” by David W. Dunn, M.D.

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