Bell’s Palsy- All You Need To Know
Imagine you wake up in a morning and looking in the mirror and noticing that your face is sagging on one side. You start thinking if you have a stroke because you can’t move your entire side of your face. This is actually called Bell’s palsy.
It can be a very scary and unpleasant experience. However, the good news is that it can be resolved and may not be permanent.
What is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is a paralysis of the facial nerve resulting in inability to control facial muscles on the affected side. It affects individuals regardless age and gender.
The exact cause is unknown. Thereby it is important for the doctor to perform a thorough investigation, including blood tests and MRI. It is to ensure that there is no specific underlying disease causing the paralysis.
Bell’s Palsy V.S. Stroke?
Many people initially think Bell’s palsy is same as stroke. Although they show the weakness in one side of the face, they aren’t actually same. A stroke is the result of a blood clot which stops blood flow to the brain or by a blood vessel that ruptures in the brain, while the facial nerve damage causes Bell’s palsy. Thereby, their treatments are different as well.
What Causes Bell’s Palsy?
As mentioned, the cause of Bell’s palsy is unknown. However viral and bacterial infections are the most common cause.
It is thought to be developed due to an inflammatory condition, leading to a swelling of the facial nerve. It then leads to nerve inhibition and compression. Hence, the blocking of the transmission of neural signals or damaging the nerve causes the facial paralysis.
Signs and Symptoms
Below are the signs and symptoms associated with Bell’s palsy, but the symptoms may differ between individuals:
- Pain in or near ears
Facial drooping on the affected side
Difficulty with facial expression (smiling, frowning etc)
- Difficulty with blinking and closing the eye
- Dry eyes
- Lack or excessive salivation etc
How Can I Prevent It?
Unfortunately there is no way to prevent Bell’s palsy currently.
How Can I Treat It?
- Medication: Steriods have traditionally been prescribed to reduce facial nerve inflammation.
- Physiotherapy: may consist of facial massage, exercises, dry needling and electrical stimulation.
How Does Physiotherapy Help?
Physiotherapy is effective for patients with Bell’s Palsy in
- restoring facial muscle strength
- stimulating facial nerve
- maintaining the muscle tone.
Bell’s palsy is not considered permanent. However the symptoms may not disappear in some rare cases. The recovery usually begins 2 weeks to 6 months from the onset of the symptoms. Fortunately, people with Bell’s palsy usually recover full facial expression and strength in most cases.
We hope this article is helpful for you. As always, call us if you need any advice. If you have any doubt feel free to contact us for appointment booking . Also, check out our instagram page for more useful tips and videos.