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 will

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