I've had this facial stiffening problem for a long time it affects my productivity

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friends, thank for allowing me to join in.  I've had a problem for a long time and presently I understand that it has to do with my facial nerves.  I feel creepy crawly things all over my face and I feel points of pressure come and disappear at different spots on my face.   This happens in an irregular manner.  The part that is most unpleasant is that my face is so hard I fail to smile or laugh normally.  I try to avoid people because they notice my face with a serious and unpleasant expression even when I don't want it to be so.  Furthermore, my facial and other muscles tire fast such that I have to rub my face often to try and relax it.  One doctor said it was t.... Neuralgia, and put me on some medication for about a year, then another neurologist told me that it was the wrong diagnosis and suspected MS, and now another doctor has said that he doesn't think it's any of the above and run some blood tests. He's put me on gabapentin to see how I do.  But I seek your guidance and experience.  Where I live we don't have good medical services.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Nkhiwa

    You didn't mention if you are in much pain? Gabapentin can help with relaxing the muscles by modifying the way the brain interprets pain signals. Heightened pain sensitivity can cause "knots" and associated stiffness in the muscles. If your facial muscles are desensitised enough to relax the muscle, along with stretching, the muscle may ease enough to allow more normal facial expressions  over time.

    Everyone's mileage varies with this sort of medication as far as effectiveness and side effects are concerned. Hopefully it may help your situation.

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  • Posted

    Perhaps a muscle relaxer or botox might be beneficial. Did the Neuro who thought MS was a possibility not do an MRI?
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    • Posted

      No, Charlotte, he didn't but recommend it.  This last Doctor I saw doesn't think it's necessary.
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    • Posted

      I think you should read about facial dystonia and see if that relates to your symptoms. 

      Botox is a treatment as well as certain medications. There is also a sensory trick that if you tap certain parts of your face it can stop the contractions. If you type "sensory trick dystonia" into google you will find more informarion on it.

      The reccomended tests according to Mayo clinic are an MRI/Ct Scan as well EMG testing and the ususal blood/urine tests.

      I also know that certain deficiencies can cause muscle contractions/spasms

      The main ones that come to mind are calcium/potassium and magnesium however there are others.

      I would ask for an MRI, just to rule out anything else.

      I hope the gabapentin helps.

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    • Posted

      Thanks a lot Charlotte.  I'll read on facial dystopia and and the sensory trick and will update.  Thanks to you and Plushly for your much appreciated responses which are helpful.
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  • Posted

    Hi Plushy,

    i wouldnt say say the pain I feel is pain in the sense of it, but it's more of pain as a result of 'fatigue' as it were.  The more I engage in discussion the more I feel my face contorting and changing expression and the muscles (or is it nerves) getting 'tired' such that it turns into a serious grimace which surprises and scares people.  The sad thing is I can't control it.  

    If gabapentin relaxes muscles then I think that's a good start but does it heal or is it just temporal?

    thanks for getting back by the way.

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    • Posted

      If the muscle spasm is not caused by pain as such, I don't know how effective gabapentin will be as it depends on the cause (still worth a try). Has your GP discussed muscle relaxants at all? Perhaps something like Norflex (orphenadrine) may be helpful?
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    • Posted

      No he has not.  None of them has.  I've only seen the one I'm seeing once and after hearing me out he suggested gabapentin to see how I'll respond.  He is not a neurologist though but did suggest that I may have to see a neurologist.  What doctor is most suitable for such a problem?
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  • Posted

    Hi look up Bell's Palsy which I understand to be a temporary condition which can just go away. Try Magnesium Citrate supplements too, but always with your doctor or pharmacist's advice. Hope it resolves soon. 
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    • Posted

      thanks Judith.  I'll read up Bells Palsy too.  But can a temporary condition be prevalent for over 20 years?
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