Bell’s Palsy is a disease, which causes a sudden, temporary weakness in the facial muscles. It is facial paralysis that makes patients unable to control his facial muscles on either side of his face. This disease can occur at any age.
There is no known reason for its cause. However, the disease is believed to be caused because of swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on the affected side. The risk factors include diabetes and upper respiratory tract infection. This is caused due to the malfunction of the cranial nerve.
Bell’s Palsy affects millions of people worldwide. For most of them, the disease is temporary. The symptoms usually start to improve within a few weeks from the first appearance. The complete recovery takes close to six months. There are a few people who continue to have the Bell’s Palsy for their complete life. The disease rarely affects someone twice. People who recurrently face the disease are often found to be a victim of diabetes or viral infections.
People, often, unknowingly interpret the disease as a stroke. It, however, is not a stroke. A stroke affecting the facial muscles would also affect the body muscles and cause weakness in other parts of the body too.
Bell’s Palsy Causes-
The causes that trigger Bell's Palsy in the human body are still unknown. Often researchers associate it with an exposure to a viral infection. The facial nerve passes through a narrow bony area in the skull and when it swells, it pushes against the hard surface of the skull when there is a viral infection. Apart from the facial muscles, the disease also affects tears, saliva, taste and a small bone positioned in the middle of the ear. At other times, researchers also associate it with physical damage to the facial nerve that causes a similar swelling of the face.
Mostly the disease occurs due to viral infections. The infections play an important role in the development of the disease. The viruses that are linked to the development of the disease are:
1. Cold sores and genital herpes, also known as herpes simplex
3. Infectious mononucleosis, which is also known as herpes zoster
4. Cytomegalovirus infections
5. Respiratory illnesses or adenovirus
6. German measles or rubella virus
7. Mumps or the mumps virus
8. Flu or the influenza B virus
9. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease or the coxsackievirus
Some Risk Factors of Bell’s Palsy-
It has often been noticed that Bell ’s palsy follows a pattern when affecting people. These include:
1. The disease often occurs in females who are pregnant and are in the third trimester of the gestation period. It can also affect the mother after the first week of the birth.
2. People having an upper respiratory infection, such as the flu and the cold, are commonly affected.
3. People having diabetes are also frequently affected.
As mentioned before, the disease rarely affects the same person recurrently. If there is a family history of the disease recurring repeatedly, it suggests a genetic trait or predisposition of the disease.
Bell’s Palsy Symptoms-
There are a few symptoms which constantly recur when Bell’s Palsy strikes a person. These symptoms include:
1. Inability to move the eyelid or blinking.
2. The eye on the affected side of the face waters more or less than it occurs usually.
3. Drooling even in a conscious state.
4. A reduced sense of taste in the mouth.
5. Twitching of the facial muscles.
Of all the symptoms drooling and facial weakness, reach their peak in a day or two. These symptoms then begin to reduce, which helps people to recover within a couple of weeks. Complete recovery happens within 3 months. Some of the patients may show neurological symptoms, which are defined as mononeuritis. This is what causes the tingling, headache, memory and balance problems. Other symptoms, which are unexplained by the facial nerve dysfunction, are ipsilateral limb weakness, ipsilateral limb paresthesias, and clumsiness.
Bell’s Palsy Diagnosis-
Bell’s Palsy is a disease which requires the diagnosis of exclusion. As there is no specific test for the disease, the doctor observes the diseased person’s face and asks him to move various parts of his face, including the facial muscles, for instance, closing the eyes, lifting the brow, showing the teeth and various other movements. Observing these parts, the doctor eliminates various other possibilities and tries to determine a reasonable cause for the disease.
As the disease is treated on the basis of exclusion, there is no routine testing or imaging test that can help in the diagnosis process. However, the degree of the nerve damage can be assessed using the House-Brackmann score. There are many studies, which have revealed that 45% of patients are not referred to a specialist. This simply suggests that the disease requires a straightforward diagnosis and is easy to manage.
Differential Diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy-
As there is no particular diagnosis in the treatment of the disease, doctors make use of the differential diagnosis technique in the treatment of Bell’s Palsy. In differential diagnosis, doctors distinguish a particular disease from other diseases that present similar clinical features. The technique finds its usage while diagnosing a particular disease to eliminate imminently life-threatening conditions.
During the differential diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy, there are various diseases which are easily eliminated such as a stroke. However, it is very difficult to eliminate the involvement of the facial nerve with the herpes zoster virus. In order to understand the major difference between the two, one must look for the small blisters on the external ear.
The Lyme’s disease also produces facial palsy, which occurs at the same time as the classic erythema migraine rash. Other times, it occurs at a later stage. In cases where the Lyme disease is common to the Bell’s Palsy disease, it may lead to facial palsy.
Bell’s Palsy Treatment-
As mentioned before, a vast majority of people have shown improvement in health and recovered completely from the disease with and at certain times, without treatment. There is no designated treatment for the disease. Doctors may suggest various medications or physical therapies that help to speed up the recovery of the patient. The medicines may vary from doctor to doctor. However, these medications may differ in accordance with the doctor. Surgery is rarely a solution or option in case of Bell’s Palsy.
Having said that, there are various procedures for the treatment of Bell’s Palsy. They include usage of the following:
5. Alternative Medicinal Therapies
1. Steroids – Various steroids such as corticosteroids, improve recovery of the patient within 6 months. Due to this, early administration of corticosteroids such as prednisone is recommended. The early treatment is necessary as it provides the patient with around 14% higher chances of recovery.
2. Antivirals –Various tests and reviews have shown that antivirals are not as effective in treating the disease as steroids. In fact, they are only beneficial in cases that display some form of mild diseases. There is another review, which stated that antivirals combined with corticosteroids were advantageous for the duration of the treatment. There is a huge amount of speculation when it comes to using antivirals for the treatment. However, antivirals still result in a benefit, which is slightly less than 7%, and therefore this course of treatment is not ruled out.
3. Physiotherapy – Physiotherapy helps in maintaining the tone of the impacted facial muscles and stimulating the facial nerve. Because of this, physiotherapy can be beneficial to some individuals.
4. Surgery – Surgery may help patients recover from facial nerve palsy. There are various techniques that exist to assist with the process of surgery. A form of surgery is a procedure that is beneficial in restoring the smile of patients suffering from facial nerve paralysis. However, this is a surgery that can be as harmful as it is beneficial. There are various side effects associated with the surgical technique. One may experience total hearing disability. In fact, around 3-15% patients experience hearing loss after the surgery.
5. Alternative Medicinal Therapies – Alternative Medicinal Therapies include various techniques such as acupuncture on the affected region. Paralyzed muscles often tend to shrink and shorten causing permanent contractures and pain. Physical therapies can guide the patient to prevent such an incident from occurring.
However, the efficiency of such techniques still remains unknown to the doctors. This is due to the fact that the studies conducted are available in a low quality. Another therapy is the hyperbaric oxygen therapy. However, the evidence available for the therapy is quite tentative.
Myths related to Bell’s Palsy
Bell’s Palsy disease often confuses people leading them to believe various myths. The most prominent myths include:
Myth #1: Bell’s Palsy Causes Permanent Facial Paralysis
Bell’s Palsy is a form of temporary facial paralysis. The facial nerve that is on one side of the face is disrupted. Due to this, the message, which is received from the brain, is interfered. However, in a majority of cases, the disease is temporary. The paralyzed area of the face starts to cure within a few weeks and within three to six months; the paralysis completely disappears on its own. In a few percentages of cases, the nerve function does not return to normal. The nerve function may return but the full function does not return.
Myth #2: There is No Treatment Which Ensures the Treatment of Bell’s Palsy
There are various techniques which are available for the treatment of Bell’s Palsy. As mentioned above, the disease can be defeated using steroids, antivirals, physiotherapy, surgery and alternative medicinal therapies. These are the most effective treatments for the disease. Apart from this, selective neurolysis and botox can be used to treat the disease.
Selective neurolysis involves releasing a platysma muscle downward and reducing the activity. The selective neurolysis is very useful for a patient to regain his ability to smile. The botox treatment is a non-surgical treatment. When injected by a nerve expert, it helps patients to regain some symmetry into their faces and improve their facial appearance.
Myth #3: Prognosis of the Disease is not Very Good
There are many people who are under the impression that prognosis for Bell’s Palsy is not very good and hence they hesitate in using it for the treatment. However, doctors state that prognosis is generally very good for the patients.
After making use of the prognosis method, a person starts to improve on his symptoms within the first two weeks. The duration for complete recovery remains the same, i.e. three to six months.
Bell’s Palsy is a form of facial paralysis that can leave the features or one side of the face completely frozen. This can also affect the patient’s ability to eat and talk on a normal basis. As per medical science reports, this kind of a condition is brought on by the inflammation of the delicate facial nerves when a viral infection from the past comes back and gets reactivated. It can also happen due to sudden and debilitating change of air from hot to extremely cold without any proper acclimatization, as well as other factors like stress, anxiety, trauma and similar factors.
There are many homoeopathic medicines that can be used for dealing with these conditions. These medicines are preferred as they are natural and do not usually have any side effects. So let us look at a few medicines that can be used in Homeopathy for treating Bell’s Palsy.
Bell’s palsy is a muscle paralysis that occurs on one side of your face. The dysfunction of facial nerves can cause sagging on a side of your face. Due to Bell's palsy, the facial nerves lose the ability to control regular facial movements.
Usually, if a person gets Bell's palsy, then he or she may be encountering the following symptoms:
Generally, the symptoms start all of a sudden and worsen within two days. Symptoms can be mild or severe, depending on the severity of the disease.
Inflammation around the facial nerves causes Bell's palsy. But there is no particular reason behind the infection. Mostly, viral infections are the reason behind it. Research states that (herpes simplex) or the cold sore virus, (varicella zoster) or chickenpox virus is responsible and causes Bell's palsy.
Homeopathic treatment for Bell's palsy
Treating Bell's palsy with homeopathy is safe and effective as it has proven to cure Bell's palsy from the roots. The top 10 homeopathic medicines, which have proven to produce good results on Bell's palsy patients, are discussed below.
Bell’s palsy is a neurological condition that results in a temporary paralysis of the facial muscles. This paralysis or muscle weakness occurs when the cranial nerve responsible for controlling the facial muscles become compressed, swollen or inflamed. When this happens one side of the face may become stiff or can droop. You may experience trouble laughing, smiling or closing the eye located on the side of the face that has become affected.
Most often the condition of Bell’s palsy is temporary that will go away in a few days to a few weeks time. People between the age group of 16 and 60 years are at a risk of developing Bell’s palsy. The exact reasons why the cranial nerve becomes inflamed is not known but medical experts widely believe that it is because of viral infections.
Viruses that are sometimes instrumental behind causing Bell’s palsy are:
Symptoms of Bell’s palsy can start to show up in a week or two’s time after you have developed an ear, eye or cold infection. The symptoms can occur all of a sudden and you will see them occurring usually in the morning. Generally, Bell’s palsy affects only one side of the face but it can also affect both sides. Aside from the stiffness of the facial muscles other symptoms of Bell’s palsy are:
A Bell’s palsy condition can become risky if the person suffering from it is pregnant, has diabetes, has a pre-existing lung infection and also has a family medical history of this condition.
Most often a Bell’s palsy condition will improve on its own without requiring any treatment in a few days to few weeks time. But it can take many weeks for the facial muscles to recover their previous strength for muscle functioning.
The kinds of medications that can aid in speeding up the recovery process are:
Some home remedies that can also be duly adopted are:
Bell’s palsy is a facial paralysis of acute onset presumed to be due to non-suppurative inflammation of unknown etiology of the facial nerve within its canal above the stylomastoid foramen.
History of exposure of the year to extreme cold Water retention in pregnancy Infection of the ear Herpes zoster infection Upper respiratory tract infection Idiopathic They all causes facial nerve lesion.It occurs any time from infancy to old age. However it is more seen among younger population and males are more affected than females.
MANAGEMENT FOR BELL’S PALSY:
Resolving the inflammation:
If the patient comes immediately following the onset of paralysis, then he may be treated with either SWD or IR to increase the circulation in the stylomastoid foramen so that the inflammation can be resolved. If the paralysis is only due to compression or neuropraxia then the patient will show a miraculous recovery once the inflammation is resolved and compression on the nerve is relieve. Such heat modalities can be tried for a period of one week to ten days.
Maintenance of muscle properties: This can be achieved with interrupted galvanic stimulation to the paralyzed muscles.
Facial massage: Massage is essential to maintain the circulation to the face as well as to keep the face supple. The direction of the manipulation used should be in upward direction and not downward direction as downward movement tends to stretch the paralyzed muscle more and can have deleterious effect.
Taping or Splinting: These methods are used to decrease the facial asymmetry noticed in Bell’s palsy.
Eye care: the patient may be instructed to wear protective goggles to prevent entry of foreign bodies into his eyes.
Continuous monitoring: the patient recovery status should be reviewed consistently. SDC is helpful in knowing the prognosis of the patient.
Faradic Reeducation: only if patient can tolerate sensory stimulus of faradic current to th face, faradic reeducation is given. Other means of reeducating the movement is by using
PNF techniques, visual feedback exercises etc.
Visual feedback exercises: the patient may asked to do facial exercises in front of the mirror, so that he gets a visual feedback and can perform the exercises more efficiently.
Strengthening exercises: once the facial muscles reach grade 3 or fair then resistance can be given to muscle action to further strengthen them.
Some diseases like Bell’s Palsy have a sudden onset. One moment everything is fine and the next, half your face feels paralysed. Bell’s Palsy is a viral infection that causes temporary paralysis of one side of the face. The exact cause is unknown but this virus is said to be related to the herpes virus. The sudden onset of this condition can make a person believe that they have suffered a stroke and this condition can last for several months. Many people do not completely recover from this condition. A numb sensation, lack of control over the lips and eyelids, drooping of one side of the face and an inability to smile or blink are some of the symptoms of this condition.
Homeopathy has been used to treat a number of Bell’s Palsy cases successfully. However, the results vary from person to person and the extent of nerve damage done. This form of treatment does not address only the visible symptoms but addresses the physical, mental and emotional health of a person as a whole. Since homeopathy has negligible side effects, it can be prescribed to children and adults alike. Some common homeopathic remedies for Bell’s Palsy are:
Aconite and Causticum: Aconite is prescribed in the initial stages of this condition especially is paralysis seems to have set in after exposure to a cold draft. Patients who can benefit from aconite often also complain of a tingling sensation on the affected side of the face. On the other hand, causticum is prescribed to treat chronic cases of facial paralysis.
Hypericum: This is the most preferred homoeopathic remedy in cases of paralysis caused due to injury to a nerve. In addition to the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy, the patient may also complain of tingling or numbing sensations and burning sensations on the affected side of the face.
Ignatia: Bell’s Palsy can also be triggered by grief. In such cases, Ignatia has been proven to be quite effective. It also resolves excessive saliva production and frequent biting of cheeks of the tongue while talking and swallowing.
Cadmium Sulph: Bell’s Palsy that develops as a result of a sudden haemorrhagic condition can be treated with Cadmium Sulph. In such cases, the patient may have a distorted face and may face difficulties swallowing food and speaking properly. He or she may also be unable to close the eye on the affected side of the face.
Bacillinum and Causticum: The medicines are prescribed in cases of Bell’s Palsy triggered by the suppression of facial eruptions. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Homeopath.
Nasya is an Ayurvedic term, a procedure followed for disorders related to migraine, throat, nose, ear, sinusitis and any other organ above the neck. Ayurveda purifies these organs and removes vitiated doshas through the nasal openings. The nasal treatment happens in the form of medicated powders, medicinal fumes, nasal oil or medicated juice.
Efficacy of the treatment:
This form of treatment is tailor made for disease related to ENT and Eye ailments. The treatment aims at getting the toxins removed from the neck and head region by administering oil through the nasal cavity. Other areas where Nasya can be applied to get good results include psychiatry, dentistry, and neurology.
Types of Nasya:
As per function, there are 3 different types of Nasya Brihmana nasya, Virechana nasya and Shamana nasya. As per quality, Nasya can be divided into 2 categories i.e. Pratimarsha nasya and Marsha nasya. Some other popular nasal therapy treatment includes the following:
Herbs used in Nasya Karma:
Some common herbs that is used for preparing any nasya preparation include apamarg, vidanga, hingu, tulasi, maricha and lahsuna. Some common oil preparation of Nasya includes anu, narayana, marichyadi, guraadi, shadbindu etc. A common preparation of Nasya is known as guraadi that include herbs such as shunthi, pippali, and saindhava.
Benefits of Nasya treatment:
There are numerous benefits of nasya treatment, some of the notables ones include:
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an ayurveda.
Facial paralysis can happen due to many factors. Sometimes inflammation develops around the facial nerve as it passes through the skull from the brain. This presses on the nerve and makes it stop functioning. As the nerve stops functioning, so does the muscle it controls.
This is what happens in Bell’s palsy, the most common cause of facial paralysis.
Bell's palsy is a common cause of a facial paralysis but there are many others too that affect or damage facial nerve. These include head injury, sarcoidosis, lyme disease, growths in the ear, tumours in the parotid gland, brain tumors and stroke.
The weakness of the face usually one-sided is a symptom of Bell’s palsy. The face may droop to one side, chewing food is also tough, drooling, dry eyes and difficulty wrinkling forehead and speech are other symptoms of Bell’s palsy, the most common reason for facial paralysis.
The type of therapy you receive for facial paralysis will depend on its cause. It will also develop on how long you’ve suffered from facial paralysis and the extent of damage to the facial nerve.
Your physiotherapist can help and so can speech and language therapists to deal with the issue.
In physiotherapy, a treatment called 'facial retraining' with facial exercises helps with facial palsy. It is important that you seek help from a therapist who specialises in facial rehabilitation only.
This is what you can expect from facial rehabilitation therapy-
Exercises for eye care
Exercises for dry mouth management
Exercises to make drinking and eating easier
Your physiotherapist will educate you on how the facial nerve works and how it recovers. This is important to make you recover. A home therapy programme plays an important role too. It includes massages to keep face muscles mobile and healthy, stretches to lengthen muscles, exercises to help re-learn balanced facial movements and relaxation of your facial nerve and muscles.
The physiotherapist will work on your facial movement to make muscles fit. The basic idea is to slowly rewire the brain-to-nerve-to-muscle pathway. The physiotherapist’s first step is to retrain you to do correct movements voluntarily, while mentally focusing on the movement.
Physiotherapy may take months but keep at it to recover completely, especially the home exercises.
Remember that exercises should be done gently as well as daily to reap benefits. Always do these exercises with the help of a therapist only. Doing exercises by yourself can be counter- productive.