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Bell’s Palsy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Simply Bell’ palsy means facial paralysis. It’s not permanent paralysis. In maximum cases it’s a curable disorder. Actually it happened due to damage to the 7th cranial nerve( facial nerve). Affected patients feeling pain and discomfort in their affected area.

The veritable reason for Bell’s palsy is not fully understood yet, but it’s suspected to be sib to viral infections. It begins furtively and without treatment it will be deranged over 48 hours. Bell’s palsy smite anybody at any time at any age. Bell’s palsy patient should be prescribed antiviral with oral corticosteroid. It’s a combination therapy! Bell’s palsy patient must not be treated with antivirals alone because it’s not safe for the patient. It can’t be prevented but may reduce the risk of Bell’s palsy if you are aware of some conditions like obesity, diabetes, pregnancy, preeclampsia, and upper respiratory ailments. High blood pressure.

Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s palsy mostly affects the muscle on one side of the face. After facial muscle damage lot of symptoms are happen such as:

1) Loss of sensation in the affected area.

2) Spilling food from the mouth.

3) Curved lips.

4) Both eyes are not close on the same time due to facial nerve damage and inability blink on eye.

5) Pain and discomfort on the affected area.

6) Headache due to loss of nerve movement oxygen can’t pass all over in the brain. Cranial nerve connected the brain with other parts of the face.

7) Tear in affected eye.

8) Taste problem.

If any symptoms happen should be contacted with a doctor as soon as possible. If treatment started within 72hours then treatment can be more effective and easily get rid of the disease.

Diagnosis of Bells Palsy

No specific test recognized yet to diagnose the disorder. Only doctor can confim the conditon after fully examining the patient. Doctor will examine upper and lower part of facial muscle weakness on one side of face( forhead, eyelied, mouth).

Diagnosis test not necessary for most cases, but sometimes it can help to confirm diagnosis other diseases or conditions that can aslo cause facial weakness or paralysis such as brain tumor, myasthenia Lyme disease, gravis, stroke.

Tests for Bell’s Palsy may include:

1) Blood test

2) EMG(Electeomyography)

3) MRI(Magnetic resonance imaging)

4) CT scan( computed tomography)

Treatment of facial paralysis( bells palsy)

We can also say Bells palsy is a neurological disorder. If the treatment start just on time then generally improvement shown in few weeks. It takes to recover 2 weeks to 24 weeks(6 month). Improvement can be vary person to person.

Facial paralysis treatment including medication, physical therapy,home management, surgery.

  • Corticosteroid such as prednisone, these are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. It can reduce swelling of the facial nerve.
  • Antiviral with corticosteroid (Combination therapy). It can be reduce the rate of synkinesis. In cases of bells palsy only antiviral use is not safe
  • Vitamin B12(B1 & B6) It’s important for the well being of nervous system.Vitamin deficiency can lead several problem.
  • Analgesic medication :pain reliever OTC medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetominophen(Over the counter drug).
  • Eye drops or ointments or gel.
  • Apply heat: During Bell’s palsy heat can help to retrench the damaging part to help relieve swelling and pain. The heat should be low, such as as heating pad or gel pack,Using moist heat like a warm washcloth number of couple times a day can relieve pain and improve circulation.
  • Exercise: Physical therapy, facial massage, or acupuncture( inserting needles into the body to stimulate sensory nerves in the skin and muscles. It can help to relieve pain.) may help to  improve the facial nerve function and pain. Electrical stimulation of the facial nerve may improve.
  • Wearing sun glass or goggles 24 hours to protect eye from the strong light, dust, injury. Also using eye patch.
  • Surgery: On rare occasions, cosmetic or reconstructive surgery may be needed to correct some damage such as an eyelid that will not fully close or a crooked smile.

Recovery from Bells Palsy

About 71% patients show clear signs of recovery within few weeks. Some patients may take time to improvement, their recovery may take longer. In maximum cases, facial paralysis is not a serious condition. Its temporary. Recovery time or stage may vary But usually the following 3 stages are important-

1) Flaccid stage:

The flaccid stage is the initial stage when symptoms begin to appear. This initial stage may include the following :

  • The facial muscles become weak, loss of sensation, feeling paralyzed
  • Infected eye may not be able to close properly or blink
  • The lips may curved and the corner of the mouth may droop which making it difficult to drink and eat.

When patients stay in flaccid stage, no improvement occur within 3 weeks at that stage need to talk with doctor and should follow the doctor instructions, the doctor may refer to a facial paralysis specialist.

2) Paretic stage:

after flaccid stage the facial nerves begin to recover in paretic stage. Facial muscles become tighten and come back its actual facial shape, during paretic stage patients regain their facial beauty, patients facial symmetry may improve.

Paretic stage Patients may experience:

  • Facial muscles improve at different rates such as may be able to close an eye but difficult to smile
  • Facial expression Improvement
  • seven cranial nerve recovery can indicate tickling in the face

Twitching is the indicator of nerve  constriction or facial nerve recovery. If patient experience twitching at this stage must contact with a doctor and inform it.

3) Synkinetic stage :

the synkinetic stage is the final stage of recovery.In this stage recovery may delay and its causes involuntary facial movements.In this stage, patients may experience:

  • Headache due to less oxygen supply in the brain
  • The affectes eye may become smaller
  • Lifting the eyebrows, closing the eye may cause the cheek to lift involuntary.
  • The cheek may feel rigid or tight on the affected side.
  • Neck pain.

In synkinetic stage patients emotionally and mentally broken and It can affect patients physical health, appearance, speech.

Some other way may help to recover facial paralysis.

Patients may follow :

  • During the recovery period patients should try to stay relaxed and calm.
  • Allow the face to recover in its own way
  • Without doctor’s recommendation avoid to try exercise
  • Force is harmful for weak muscle.so avoid forcing weak muscle or affected area.
  • Gently massage the face with the finger
  • Monitoring the cheek, neck, chin, eyebrow.

Besides medication bells palsy patients should take proper rest. Its important to relax mentally. Allow the body to recover in its own way. It may help to recover as soon as possible

In some rare cases a complete recovery may not be possible:

  • Congenital facial palsy: If anyone have facial paralysis at birth, may require surgery.
  • Severe damage to the facial nerve: Severe injury to the facial nerve may cut the nerve. This may occur through trauma or surgery. Then People may require a long treatment to restore facial expressions.
  • Nerve grafts: If people had nerve grafts, they may require specific rehabilitation, and need some recovery time

Except in some specific conditions recovery of Bell’s palsy is possible. Patients regain their previous healthy lives.

Diet or food should eat or avoid in bells palsy:

Facial muscle weakness or paralysis can make it difficult to talking, laughing, eating and swallowing. Diet does not have a direct impact on facial paralysis. Patient might need to change their eating habits for short  period of time. To prevent choking, avoid large bites of food or foods that are chewy, sticky or hard. A soft diet may be necessary for the bell’s palsy patients such as pudding, ice cream, mashed potatoes, soup and soft cooked vegetables,yogurt, fresh juice. If the entire mouth has been affected by Bell’s palsy,then fully liquid diet must be required.People should take high nutrients food such as vitamin, fibre, protein, minerals.

Beside medication proper diet plan must be required to recover as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Bell’s palsy is probably an autoimmune disease. People with bell’s palsy recover within few weeks, complete recovery may take 9 month from the source of united kingdom’s national health service (NHS). Certain medication, doctor’s recommend exercise, self care may help to recover fastly. People should take Proper diet. Bell’s palsy is not a serious condition. People can regain their joyful lives.

“Life is too short. Stay healthy, stay safe and keep smiling “

Selina

My name is Selina, a medical specialist blogger helping people access treatment for 5+ years. Although blogging awhile, only recently deeply engaged. This past year my most productive, providing hospital reviews and info on symptoms, diagnoses and diseases. Also offer guidelines to help readers navigate healthcare. Goal to continue increased content pace to assist many. Aim to facilitate treatment and empower advocacy through writing.

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