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Feeling numbness under eye and headache. Not cured by advil. Should I be worried?

Nov 2013
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Practicing since : 1994
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Hi, I am kind of scared but not sure if I should go to the ER or wait this out. Last night, I felt a weird, slight "numbness" (not really loss of feeling, just an underlying weird "tight" sensation in my right eye, sort of around the eye more) and into my right ear a little bit. This morning when I woke up, I had the same thing and a right temple headache as well. It is not severe, but persistent. I took 3 advil to no avail. I took a hot shower. It didn't seem to help. My neck and shoulders are sore as well so I thought tension headache but am concerned because I don't normally get headaches and the weird "almost numb" around the eye and ear are troubling. I am going into menopause (have not had a period for 6 months now) and have had more frequent headaches but not anything like this. Should I worry? Please help me decide what to do. I don't want to freak out but I don't want to miss something major. I am otherwise very healthy, I don't eat junk food, I am a vegetarian and I take magnesium, Vit D3, folic acid, and Vit C daily. It seems to get a little more "tight" when I do certain movements but feels the same when I sit still. Since I am normally very healthy, I get scared when something odd happens to me. I appreciate your expertise and opinion.
Posted Sun, 28 Oct 2012 in Headache and Migraines
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 21 minutes later
Thank you for contacting Healthcare magic.

I appreciate the detailed description of your symptoms, as well as your concern for good health.

First of all, I want to reassure that the symptoms do not reflect any serious problem.
As suspected by you, the most likely cause for your symptoms could be muscle tension headache.

As of now, I don't think there is an urgent need to go to ER. Please watch for the following warning symptoms:
1. Severe headache, typically described as the worst headache of the lifetime,
2. Recurrent vomiting,
3. Double or blurred vision,
4. Decreased alertness,
5. Fits,
6. Any weakness of arm or leg,
7. Slurred speech,
8. Imbalance while walking.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, you may go to ER. Otherwise, you could try diclofenac, ketorolac, etc and plan to see your GP later.

I hope it helps. Please get back if you have any additional queries.
Best wishes,
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology) XXXXXXX Consultant Neurologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Feeling numbness under eye and headache. Not cured by advil. Should I be worried? 7 minutes later
Thank you, Doctor, for your very fast reply. The headache seems to be subsiding a bit but the weird numbness is still there in my eye and ear and even a small bit in my cheek. When I say, eye, I guess I mean also the eyelid feels a little tight as well. Since you are an expert in neurology, I very much respect your opinion. As long as you feel the numbness isn't of immediate concern, I will watch for the other symptoms you mentioned. Of course, face numbness immediately brings to mind a fear of stroke or other brain issue, so that is why I got nervous. So you are saying that a tension headache can also produce facial numbness? Thanks again for your time.
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 12 minutes later
Thank you for getting back.

Sudden onset numbness can be a symptom of stroke, however, the numbness typically affects one half of the body (including face, arm and leg). Numbness restricted to face (including the eye and ear) alone can not be a symptom of stroke. At least, I haven't seen one yet (I see one case of brain stroke a day, and this has been going on for the past 14 years)!

I agree with you that numbness usually does not occur in tension headache. But in many cases, a component of vascular headache (as in migraine) is mixed along with tension headache, also referred to as mixed headache; in these cases, numbness, tingling, etc may be present.

I hope it helps.
Best wishes,
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD (Internal Medicine), DM (Neurology)
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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