Bell’s palsy is a neurological disorder caused by damage to the seventh cranial nerve, also known as the facial nerve, which results in weakness or paralysis on one side of the face. Because it can happen suddenly, someone might think the problem is a stroke – when a blood vessel in the brain gets clogged or bursts. Bell’s palsy can be scary, but it usually doesn’t last long and goes away without treatment. In the UK, about one in 60 people will be affected at some point in their lifetime. Through these messages, the facial nerves control the muscles of your face, forehead, and neck. Each facial nerve starts in the brain, goes through the skull in a narrow tube of bone, and exits the skull behind the ear. Other small nerve branches run to the glands that make saliva, the glands that make tears, and the front of the tongue. Until recently, its cause was unknown in most cases, but it has now been related to both Lyme disease and Herpes simplex . Men and women are equally affected, although pregnancy increases the risk threefold.
Causes of Bell’s Palsy
The common Causes of Bell’s Palsy :
The exect cause of Bell’s palsy is unknown.
Injury, like getting hit really hard in the face
The flu or a bad cold
The virus that causes cold sores, herpes simplex
High blood pressure
Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy
Some Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy :
Changes in the amount of tears and saliva your body produces
Facial stiffness or a feeling that your face is being pulled to one side
Pain behind or in front of your ear on the affected side
Loss of taste on the front portion of your tongue
Pain, usually in the ear on the affected side
Facial droop and difficulty with facial expressions
Sounds that seem louder on the affected side
Treatment of Bell’s Palsy
Some doctors try to surgically relieve pressure on the nerve by removing part of the bone. This is an unproven procedure that is considered controversial and is no longer commonly performed. If the eyelid will not close, other surgeries around the eye may be considered.
Most patients who do not recover are distressed by their symptoms. They may need help dealing with the emotional issues associated with the condition.
Corticosteroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – to reduce inflammation and pain
Antibiotic or antiviral drugs – if infection is the cause
Prescription antiviral medications, such as acyclovir (Zovirax) and famciclovir (Famvir), may limit or reduce damage to the nerve from some viral causes.
Facial massage may help prevent permanent contractures of the paralyzed muscles before recovery takes place