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?


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 possible.

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