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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes severe facial pain radiating to the arm and fingers?

Answered by
Dr. Antoneta Zotaj

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1962 Questions

Posted on Wed, 8 Mar 2017 in Brain and Spine
Question: Hi, While having dental anesthesia and dental work done on a lower left molar yesterday, my husband experienced very extreme trigeminal pain that moved down left arm to fingers so badly he was sent to the ER. After extensive blood tests, etc the ER found no heart problems or any other problelms. He has had Bels Palsey before but currently does not have it. His symptoms have gone away this morning. Do you know what happened to him? Thank you, XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Antoneta Zotaj 8 hours later
Brief Answer:
Possible nerve being pinched might be the cause

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for asking at HealthcareMagic.

I carefully read your question and understand your concern.

The intense pain your husband has experienced is a bit uncommon and there are not many options that come to my mind when I think of the possible causes of it. The only structure that starts from neck and goes down in the arm and fingers are the nerves so the most likely cause of the pain he has felt is probably due to a nerve being pinched. The head position in the dentist bed also favors hyper-extension of the neck and would be a possible trigger of the nerve being irritated and causing intense pain spreading in the arm.

Trigeminal neuralgia does not generally spread in the arm as normally the trigeminal nerve is only in the head and does not travel in the neck or arm so it is unlikely the arm and finger pain is due to trigeminal neuralgia.

It is good to know the heart blood tests came out negative ruling out a heart attack. This is reassuring and one of the most important diagnosis to be ruled out.

I would recommend your husband do have a neck X-ray just to see how the cervical vertebra and bodies seem and if there any osteophytes (changes of bone with age but that might pinch the nerves while they come out of the spine) or other structures that might explain the nerve irritation as a possible cause of the pain.

I hope this answers to your question but please feel free to reply if anymore clarifications are needed.

Kind Regards,

Dr Antoneta Zotaj

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee

The User accepted the expert's answer

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