Bell’s palsy or facial palsy is an unexplained condition, causing weakening and paralysis of the facial muscles. Usually, a compressed or pinched facial nerve leads to paralysis. People with this condition may have a floppy appearance on one or both sides of the face. The inflammation of the seventh cranial nerve that regulates the facial muscles, makes the face on one side appear droopy.
People with this condition may also have eyelids remaining open or asymmetrical smiles. The condition may last for several months and often goes away without treatment. Typically, men and women between fifteen and sixty years of age are prone to this condition. Permanent recovery from the condition may take about two weeks to six months from the appearance of symptoms, and only in rare cases, it stays for a lifetime.
Bell’s palsy or facial palsy is an unexplained condition, causing weakening and paralysis of the facial muscles. Usually, a compressed or pinched facial nerve leads to paralysis.
The symptoms of this condition appear suddenly and may reach the peak within forty-eight to seventy-two hours. While in some people, the symptoms are mild, others may experience complete paralysis. The symptoms may start showing improvement within two to three weeks, and about eighty percent of people recover fully within three months. The symptoms of the condition are:
The symptoms of this condition may have similarities with other medical problems, so it is best to discuss with a doctor.
The exact cause of Bell’s palsy or facial palsy is not known, but a viral infection may trigger the problem. The estimated causes of this condition are:
The viral infection causes the facial nerve to become inflamed or swollen, causing this condition.
A scheduled visit to the physical therapist’s clinic is useful during the first couple of days from when the symptoms show. The therapist reviews the person’s medical history and finds out about the underlying conditions and previous surgeries. They also evaluate the present symptoms and the things that may improve or worsen them. The therapist:
Exercises and therapy restore muscle strength and help regain facial coordination faster. The exercises must be done about three to four times a day, with about twenty to thirty repetitions for each exercise. The exercises are:
All the exercises for this condition can be practiced at home safely and without supervision. However, overexertion of the muscles needs to be avoided. In case of muscle pulling during exercises, it is essential to allow them to relax.
Mild symptoms of the condition disappear without treatment, although the recovery time may differ. The complications are:
The condition cannot be prevented or avoided, so the affected person must call the doctor when symptoms appear.
The condition may improve without treatment but the healthcare provider may recommend the following treatments.
The related conditions are all associated with viral diseases, so treating the symptoms of the viral infections can help. Most people recover from the symptoms unless the cause is more serious such as nerve damage due to cerebral stroke.