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A Primer on Bell’s Palsy

Posted by on Feb 5, 2014 in Bell's Palsy, Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

A Primer on Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s palsy is a common cause of temporary facial paralysis where there is trauma or damage to the facial nerve. The condition develops suddenly, and it typically shows on one side only. Most people with Bell’s palsy initially think they just had a stroke. Bell’s palsy is way different from a stroke and the majority of people recover after a couple of months. What causes it? It is not clear if Bell’s palsy is caused by herpes virus or not. In many cases, there is inflammation of the facial nerve. There are also some health issues that cause facial paralysis and weakness. If the source of the weakness cannot be identified, the condition is regarded as Bell’s palsy. What are its symptoms? A person with Bell’s palsy experiences sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of the face. The person may also start to drool and lose his or her capacity to taste. Eye problems may surface like a dry eye. The affected side may become numb and there may be pain behind the ear. How is it diagnosed? Doctors perform an assessment including a neurological exam to check the function of the facial nerve. If symptoms are not clear and the cause is not identified, other tests may be needed like a CT scan and MRI. Blood tests may also be ordered by the physician. What are the treatment methods? Steroids Studies have revealed that steroids, particularly prednisone, reduce swelling and inflammation. Prednisone is effective in treating Bell’s palsy. Antiviral drugs like acyclovir can also shorten the duration of the disease. Pain is relieved with aspirin or ibuprofen. Since drug interactions may occur, individuals with Bell’s palsy should not attempt to self-medicate. It is a must to see a doctor first before taking any medications. Eye protection Bell’s palsy can affect the natural ability of the eyelids to blink. Since the eyes are exposed, it can be irritated. Drying may also occur. Thus, it is important to keep the eyes protected to prevent injuries. The eyes should also be moist. This can be done by using eye drops that provide lubrication. Eye patches may be used when sleeping. During waking hours, glasses or goggles should be worn. Physical therapy Physical therapy stimulates the facial nerve and helps in maintaining muscle tone. Furthermore, facial exercises as well as facial massage may benefit some people. These activities prevent permanent contractures of the paralyzed muscles caused by lack of movement. The pain also can be reduced by placing moist heat on the side that is affected. Although Bell’s palsy only causes temporary facial paralysis, it is important to deal with the condition right away. When you experience facial weakness, be sure to visit your doctor right away. Also, do not forget to see a physical therapist in Montgomery Village and Olney, Maryland, so your facial muscles can regain strength quickly while the symptoms begin to lessen. You only want to get the best treatment available and get rid of the paralysis as soon as...

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Understanding Bell’s Palsy

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Understanding Bell’s Palsy

If a sudden facial droop happens on one side of your face, it may be Bell’s palsy. This condition is characterized by paralysis or inability to control the facial muscles of the affected part. There might be difficulty to close the eye on that side of the face, difficulty to smile, frown or raise eyebrows and sometimes, there is also loss of taste. Bell’s palsy, although often not life threatening, causes alarm. It is not a nice feeling to wake up one morning and find that you can no longer control one side of your face. Because of this, this condition is often mistaken as a symptom of stroke. There are very slight differences between stroke symptoms and Bell’s palsy that may not be noticeable to the common eye so it’s always best to immediately seek medical attention. Bell’s palsy is treatable. The cause of it is yet unknown and some studies state that it is brought about by some viruses that affect the facial nerves. This being said, you can undergo therapy to bring back the normal function of your facial nerves so that you can smile, wink, raise your eyebrows and chew normally. Identifying Bell’s palsy may be done after a series of questions, physical and neurological test performance. If it is indeed Bell’s palsy, therapy is done accordingly. For most people, normal nerve function can be achieved within 1 to 2 months of treatment. Unfortunately for some, permanent damage is possible. In Maryland, there is a growing awareness that this condition is easily treatable and that people who have it do not have to suffer with permanently being unable to control their facial nerves for the rest of their lives. Physiotherapy for Bell’s palsy patients is very helpful as it stimulates the nerves and brings back muscle tone in the affected area. This is a procedure that can be done regularly every week that would not even take more than an hour. It is done in conjunction to medications such as steroids and antivirals. As the medicines cure the cause, the therapy will prevent your muscle from being dysfunctional forever. The therapy is generally not painful but discomfort can be minimized by applying heat to the area prior to the stimulation of the facial muscles. Getting back to normal is possible even without treatment. However, there is a lot left to chance. Without proper diagnosis, medication and therapy, those who have Bell’s palsy may not be able to regain control over their facial nerves anymore. There are about 40,000 people being affected by Bell’s palsy in the US every year. There is also some evidence that it is genetic. Pregnant women also face more risks of getting affected. However, there is difficulty in really determining the right epidemiology because it is not a reportable disease. What we aim for is more awareness that those stricken by Bell’s palsy can seek treatment that...

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