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What Causes Numbness on the Right Side?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are many different issues that may cause numbness on the right side of the body. One of the most common causes is a stroke. Multiple sclerosis is another condition that may cause numbness, and palsies may be at fault as well. Numbness on one side of the body can be a sign of a serious problem, and an individual who has this problem may do well to seek the help of a medical professional.

A stroke is one of the many conditions that may lead to numbness on the right side of the body. An individual has a stroke when blood flow to the brain is blocked or impaired. In such a case, the brain suffers from a deprivation of both oxygen and nourishment, and brain cells may die as a result. Numbness caused by a stroke can affect either side of the body, depending on where in the brain the stroke occurs. Other symptoms include trouble balancing and walking, speech problems, confusion, visual problems, and headaches.

Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory condition that affects a patient’s brain and spinal cord and is often debilitating. Numbness that affects one side of the body may occur as a symptom of this condition. Other symptoms may include weakness of one side or part of the body, vision problems, tingling sensations, and tremors. A person may also experience tremors and extreme fatigue as symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

An individual also may experience numbness on the right side of the body because of a palsy. A palsy is a condition marked by weakness, numbness, or paralysis of a part of the body. For example, a person may develop Bell’s palsy that affects the right side of his face. In addition to numbness, a person with this condition may experience drooping of the face, pain in the jaw, pain behind the ear, headaches, and changes in taste. Often, a person with this condition will also experience changes in tear and saliva production.

Numbness on either side of the body may be a sign of a serious condition. In fact, it may even accompany a life-threatening medical problem. For this reason, a person with this symptom may benefit from the advice and evaluation of a medical professional.

Can Anxiety Cause Numbness on Right Side of Body? 

Anxiety can cause many side effects: heart palpitations, upset stomach, dizziness and even numbness, whether in the face, hands, feet, arms or legs. During the height of an anxiety or panic attack, numbness can be experienced throughout the body and can sometimes be on one side of the body. In most instances of a panic attack, however, the numbness does not occur on only one side of the body, so such an issue can be the symptom of an underlying condition that is not related to anxiety. If you are experiencing continued numbness that is only on the right side of your body, you could be dealing with one of the issues mentioned above (stroke, MS and palsy) and should consult your physician.

Can Stress Cause Numbness on Right Side of Face?

There are many things that can cause stress in your life, whether you're dealing with a tough job, having a difficult time in school, sorting through conflict in your family or experiencing another issue. Like anxiety, such stress can manifest in many physical symptoms:

  • Physical discomfort and tension such as body aches and pain
  • Chest discomfort and feeling like you can't breathe
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
  • Lower sex drive
  • Upset stomach and digestive issues
  • Dizziness and jitters
  • Numbness in limbs, face, hands and feet

However, experiencing many of these symptoms, such as numbness on the right side of your face, might not just be the result of overwhelming stress in your life. There are several conditions that cause facial numbness, such as shingles, transient ischemic attacks, tumors or a brain aneurysm. Even if you are under a lot of stress in your life presently, if you have numbness on the right side of your face that isn't going away, you should go to the doctor and make sure that the numbness is not caused by one of the aforementioned conditions or something else.

What Can Cause Numbness on the Right Side of My Thigh?

Numbness in the legs can be the result of many things, whether sleeping in a weird position, crossing your legs for too long or even an injury. However, constant numbness on the right side of your thigh might be an indicator that you have meralgia paresthetica. This condition affects the outer part of your thigh and manifests as numbness, tingling and a burning sensation in the outer thigh, particularly on one side of the body. The common causes of this condition include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity or gaining weight
  • Tight clothes
  • Injury
  • Diabetes
  • Trauma to the thigh

Treating Meralgia Paresthetica

Though meralgia paresthetica can be very uncomfortable, there are ways that you can relieve it. Wearing looser clothing may reduce the pain. Losing any excess weight that you've gained or taking over-the-counter medications like Advil, Tylenol or Motrin might also offer some relief.

If your meralgia paresthetica persists for a few months and your pain is not getting better, then you should go to your doctor to rule out any other conditions that might be causing the numbness and pain in your thigh. You can also talk to your doctor about prescribing stronger medications to alleviate the pain or, if you don't want a prescription, consider corticosteroid injections.

In rare circumstances, people whose meralgia paresthetica symptoms persist for a long time and who are in a lot of pain opt for surgery to decompress the affected nerves. This is a rare occurrence, though, and like most surgical interventions should be the last resort for you if nothing else works and you've talked with your doctor about it.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon1004178 — On Dec 04, 2020

I've started out the first 3 days with numbness in my hands. As the days continued the numbness went further up my arm. It's day 9 and the numbness went all the way up to the right side of my head. I don't really have any other symptoms. Although I did black out one night over a week ago and I have soreness on the right side of my forehead as if I have fallen and hit my forehead.

By anon944002 — On Apr 05, 2014

I have numbness in the right side. I smile and my right side does not smile back. I have been to the hospital and they told me it was not a stroke. I am seeing a neurologist and she scheduled me for an emg test. I am scared. What should I do?

By anon294801 — On Oct 03, 2012

I am 26 weeks pregnant. Is it normal to have numbness on the right side of my body?

By anon285634 — On Aug 16, 2012

My sister has numbness and tingling on her right side, face, ear, tongue, arm and leg. She had a headache and her jaw was hurting first. What can this be?

By amysamp — On Aug 08, 2011

@Tomislav - I learned about this when I was in speech therapy school, I thought it was so interesting that our body's brains were cross wired to control opposite sides. So the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body.

The interesting thing about the left side of your brain is that it houses the language center of your brain, which is why when your right side goes numb secondary to a stroke you also might have speech problems because the stroke has also hit the language center.

I was trying to remember what the other causes of numbness in the right side of the face and this article was the perfect refresher.

By Tomislav — On Aug 08, 2011

Someone once told me that numbness in the right side of the body if due to a stroke actually means the stroke occurred in the left side of the brain secondary to the left side of the brain controlling the right side of the body.

Is this true or an old wives tale?

By kylee07drg — On Aug 07, 2011

My friend developed multiple sclerosis, and when he first got diagnosed with it, he had just developed weakness on his right side and tingling in his right arm. He had gone to the doctor to make sure he had not had a stroke, but this news was even worse.

He began to develop severe tremors. He had trouble sleeping, because he would often jerk himself awake involuntarily. His eyes darted around without his permission, and he became so very tired.

He told me that one of the most frustrating aspects of his illness was the numbness in his right hand. He had difficulty writing and playing the piano, which were two of the few pleasures he had left.

By Oceana — On Aug 07, 2011

My grandmother got Bell’s palsy, and it scared me and my sister to death. She woke up from a nap one day while we were staying at her house, and she came in the room looking like a monster.

We were only five and seven then, so we did not understand why the right side of her face looked like it was falling off. We called our mother crying, and she came and took her to the hospital. The doctor told her the condition would go away on its own.

She could not feel the right side of her face, which made eating and drinking difficult during the month the condition persisted. She also had to be really careful when chewing, because she would not realize it if she bit the inside of her right cheek until she tasted blood.

By orangey03 — On Aug 06, 2011

My aunt suffered a stroke. Her uncaring husband refused to take her to the hospital. He said they couldn’t afford it. So, she ended up driving herself.

She first noticed that the right side of her face had started drooping. By the time she made it to the hospital, she was having trouble moving her right arm and leg, and her speech had been affected. It’s a miracle that she drove that far and made it all right.

Today, the mobility of the right side of her body has improved, though it is still slightly less than her left side. She never recovered the ability to speak, and it’s likely she never will.

By elizabeth23 — On Aug 05, 2011

@Denha- I have a distant cousin who had a stroke awhile ago. I wish she had told people her symptoms, but she didn't when they happened -- she needed a lot of therapy and her memory will probably never fully return.

By Denha — On Aug 05, 2011

Several years ago, my great aunt had a stroke. No one was with her at the time, but numbness and confusion were they ways her daughters figured out what had actually happened- and got her to the doctor in time to avoid too much damage. Sometimes when people of all ages have strokes, they black out and don't even realized it happened, sort of like some seizures. But if you have numbness, it is something you need to see a physician about right away.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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