Bell’s palsy is a condition that affects one side of the face.The affected side becomes paralyzed.It is a result of a damage to the facial nerve of that particular side.Facial nerve controls the muscle of face, as it gets damaged the condition is represented as drooping of one side of the face.It is also called facial paralysis.
Damage of the facial nerve affects the formation of saliva and sense of taste.
Facial paralysis is a temporary condition.
Humans have twelve pairs of cranial nerves. Facial nerve is the seventh cranial nerve. Facial nerve originates from brain stem between pons and medulla.
Muscles of the forehead and neck and the facial expressions are controlled by facial nerve. The facial nerve carries nerve impulse to the facial muscles, tear glands, salivary glands and in the middle ear to the muscle of the stapes bone.It is also responsible for transmitting taste from the tongue.
The facial nerve lies within the bony canal,Compression of the facial nerve occurs because of edema and ischemia.
Age/Sex of Bell's Palsy
Bell’s palsy equally affects both men and women.It can occur at any age but highest incidence is recorded after 60 years of age.
Bell’s palsy occur due to damage of facial nerve. Exact reason of damage is not known.Triggering factors that damage the nerve are:
• Trauma to facial nerve.
• Prolonged cold exposure.
• Infection with Herpes Simplex Virus-1 (HSV-1).
• A bacterial infection by tick-bites.
• Suddenly paralysis and weakness of one side of face.
• Eye and corner of mouth droops.
• Drooling of saliva.
• Either excessive dryness or excessive tearing occurs.
• Loss of taste.
• Pain in the jaw or behind the ear.
• Increased sensitivity to sound.
• Physical examination.
• CT scan.
• Benign Skull Tumors.
• Tuberculous Meningitis.
• Meningococcal Meningitis.
• Cerebral Aneurysms.
• Corticosteroid (prednisone) to reduce the inflammation.
• Anti-viral drugs.
• Strengthening the facial muscles is done by the help of physiotherapy.
• Eye drops to lubricate the eye to prevent dryness.
• Electrical simulation prevents muscle degeneration.
Prognosis depends on the severity of damage and response of patient to treatment.
Most cases shows improvement after the first two weeks,complete recovery is seen in 3 to 7 months.Recovery is achieved in some cases in 9 months to even a year.
• Permanent spasms of the facial muscles because of irreversible damage to nerve.
• Blindness may be complete or partial.
• Continuous watering of the eye.
• Loss of taste may be permanent.
• Bruised pain behind and above the eyes.
• Drooling of the lids.
• Left side of the face is affected.
• Twitching of the lids and eyebrows, especially the left.
• Sensation of heaviness in the upper lid, with inability to close the eye firmly.
• This remedy is indicated when the paralysis is caused by exposure to cold.
• Paralysis of the facial nerve, especially when affecting the muscles of the cheek.
• Pressure and tension in the face.
• Cramp in the cheek.
• Inability to puff out the cheeks or to blow with the mouth.
• Facial paralysis due to injury.
• Marked soreness of the affected parts
• Inflammation and hyper aesthesia of the facial nerve.
• Acute cases, attended with inflammation of the nerve.
• Redness of the face, hyper aesthesia.
• Throbbing and extension of inflammation from neighboring parts, as from the tonsils, parotid gland, etc.
• A very good remedy for facial paralysis.
• Coldness from least draft of air.
• It is especially indicated towards the close of summers when days are hot and nights are cold.
• Indicated when complaint arises after exposure to cold.
• Patient is fat and chilly.
• Tendency to take cold easily.
• Protective measures for eye.
• Proper medical follow up.
• Begin treatment as signs of palsy appears.
Healthy nutritional diet is recommended for Bell’s palsy patients. Diet rich in vitamin B1, B6, B12 and zinc should be consume e.g. sea food, dairy products, meat, whole grain and vegetables. This helps in inflammation reduction and storage of nerve function.