Bell’s Palsy is a form of paralysis where one is unable to control the muscles on the one side of the face. It results from an idiopathic unilateral dysfunction of the facial nerve. The onset is rapid and usually occurs over night.
Reactivation (from stress, trauma, environmental or metabolic disorders) of an existing, dormant viral infection is thought to be a cause of the acute Bell’s palsy. Inflammation in the facial nerve produces swelling and pressure on the nerve where it exits the skull. This pressure can lead to nerve inhibition, damage or even nerve death.
Symptoms may include drooping of the one side of the face, difficulty in closing the eye, excessive tearing or a dry eye, drooling, loss of taste, pain in or behind the ear and numbness on the affected side of the face.
Most people start to regain normal function in the affected muscles within 3 weeks but recovery may be significantly accelerated by getting the appropriate treatment immediately after onset.
Treatment for Bell’s palsy commonly includes very early corticosteroids, Physiotherapy and, as a last resort, surgery. Antivirals are ineffective in improving recovery.
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