Bell’s palsy is a condition in which one half of the face droops due to muscle weakness. It may be a reaction to a viral infection. It is generally seen to occur in pregnant women and people with respiratory problem o diabetes. You must look out for signs like facial droop, difficulty in making facial expressions like closing your eyes or smiling, decrease in your ability to taste, changes in the amount of tears and saliva you produce and pain around the jaw or behind the ear. You must consult a doctor as soon as you see signs of paralysis. Most of the time, bell’s palsy resolves on its own within six months. However, treatment will help you recover sooner. In rare cases, it can affect nerves on both sides of your face.
The doctor will identify bell’s palsy by observing the movement of your facial muscles like lifting your brows, closing your eyes and frowning. In some cases, you may be asked to go for tests like electromyography (EMG) and imaging scans. EMG can confirm the presence and severity of nerve damage. Imaging scan are done to rule out other sources of pressure on the facial nerve. It can be treated by medications like corticosteroids and anti viral drugs. Corticosteroids are anti inflammatory agents that help in reducing the swelling of the facial nerve. They should be started within a few days of the appearance of these signs to achieve the best results. Physio therapy is recommended for every one going through bell’s palsy as the paralysed muscles may shrink and shorten causing permanent contractures. Physio therapist will suggest ways to exercise your facial muscles to avoid this from happening. In rare cases, plastic surgery may have to be done to correct facial nerve problems.
If you are experiencing facial droop, difficulty in making facial expressions like closing your eyes or smiling, decrease in your ability to taste, changes in the amount of tears and saliva you produce and pain around the jaw or behind the ear; you must consult a doctor as these are some signs of bell’s palsy.
Decrease in ability to taste and pain around the jaw or behind the ear may occur due to any other medical treatment you are going through. Consult a doctor to confirm your condition.
You may experience temporary rashes and redness in the skin due to certain medications. Other than that, there are no known side effects.
Protect the affected eye by wearing an eye patch or goggles. Use lubricating drops during the day and eye ointment at night to keep your eye moist and protected. You may take over the counter pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen if the pain goes beyond your tolerance level. Follow your therapist’s advice and exercise your facial muscles regularly to achieve faster results.
Most of the time, bell’s palsy resolves on its own within six months. Treatment will speed up the results.
One session of consultation with your doctor may cost between ₹600 - ₹1300. The cost of corticosteroids will be around ₹400. The cost of surgery will vary according to the severity of your condition.
Bell’s palsy rarely occurs more than once.
Most people with bell’s palsy recover fully with or without treatment. You can wait for that to happen naturally without going through any treatment.