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.
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 can happen to anyone and its cause is, hold your breath, a viral infection. Herpes zoster, Varicella zoster and HIV viruses can cause Bell’s palsy. It 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 tumours 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.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Pituitary tumors are a rare occurrence, and not all of them show some kind of symptoms. However, in some cases, the patients may display few symptoms. This totally depends on whether the tumor is functional or non-functional. When the tumor is functional, it means that they are releasing excess hormones while non-functional tumor would not cause excess release of hormones.
Types of pituitary tumors:
As already pointed, there are two variants of pituitary tumors- functional and non-functional.
Symptoms caused by pituitary tumors:
The carcinomas, as well as macroadenomas, are large enough to press on a nearby nerve or other parts of the brain regardless of whether they are functional or not. This may lead to signs and symptoms such as loss of peripheral vision, headaches, dizziness, facial numbness or pain, blurred or double vision and loss of consciousness. Sudden bleeding into the tumor can lead to loss of consciousness and even death. Depending on the type of nerves affected by the pituitary tumor can cause weakness, unexplained loss or gain of weight, nausea, feeling tired and cold, menstrual changes, erectile dysfunction, and reduced interest in sex, particularly in men.
Treatment of pituitary tumors:
Many patients suffering from pituitary tumors do not need any treatment. However, there are various factors like the size, type, and reach of the tumor that play an important role in deciding whether the patients require treatment or not. Moreover, the age of the patients and overall health conditions are the most crucial aspect in the decision of the same.
Surgical removal of the pituitary tumor is generally advised by the doctor when the tumor is pressing on the optic nerves or when the tumor is overproducing some hormones. On the other hand, radiation therapy makes use of high-energy X-rays for destroying tumors. Lastly, treatment with medicines can help in blocking excess secretion of hormone and even shrink certain types of pituitary tumors.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
The inflammation of the tissues around the sinuses is a condition known as sinusitis. This can be triggered by a number of factors including a common cold and pollen allergies. The symptoms of acute sinusitis are -
Sinusitis is an uncomfortable condition on its own, but can also lead to a number of other complications. Ayurveda can be very effective in treating sinusitis without causing any other side effects. Here are a few ways to treat sinusitis with Ayurveda.
Lupus is an inflammatory disease that is chronic in nature. It occurs when your tissues and organs are attacked by your body's own immunity system. The inflammation that this disease causes can affect the other parts of your body as well, like the joints, kidneys, skin, brain etc. It is often difficult to diagnose because it lacks distinct symptoms. However, one of the most identifiable symptoms of lupus is a ring-shaped rash on the face.
Lupus can be caused by a number of factors like:
The symptoms are neither distinct nor regular. However, some common symptoms could be-
What else can lupus lead to?
Several complications may arise if lupus is left untreated. Some of them are-
Lupus is a significantly dangerous disease and medical help should be immediately sought if you think that you have symptoms associated with it. Treatment depends on the signs and symptoms of individual patients. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.
Motor tics are generally experienced by children, and the symptoms can last up to one year. This disorder is characterised by brief and uncontrolled spasm like motions which are also accompanied by screams and other outbursts. If the physical and vocal tics come together for each attack, then the condition is known as Tourette Syndrome. Motor tics may occur due to problems in the functioning of the neurotransmitters in the child’s brain. These are chemicals that are usually responsible for transmitting signals throughout the brain, and a malfunction can lead to serious issues. Here are a few Homeopathic ways of dealing with this disorder.
Selective Treatment: Homeopathy will provide a form of ad hoc care that can help in treating the various symptoms that are associated with these tics. The symptoms include obsessive compulsive disorder as well as the tendency of exhibitionism. Also, the mechanical repetition of actions with head jerking movements and lip biting as well as wincing are some of the main symptoms that one will experience in such cases. While most of these symptoms tend to vanish as one progresses towards adulthood, it has been found that Ignata and Cuprum Metallicum are some of the Homeopathic medicines that can help in treating these symptoms, as well as painful facial tics. Agaricus Muscarius can also help in treating the symptoms of motor tics.
Prevention: The point of Homeopathy medication is also to prevent the occurrence of such tics. Cina 15 CH can be prescribed for this purpose along with Zinc Metallicum. Also, these medicines will help in treating the anxiety that the child may feel when suffering from this condition. Further, many Homeopath doctors will recommend and administer a Hyoscyamus based treatment to deal with this aspect of the condition. Hysteria and violent movements can also be prevented with the help of Staphysagria.
Involuntary Movements: The treatment of involuntary movements felt as a part of this condition can take place with the help of Homeopathic medicines like Sepia, China, Zinc and Lycopodium. A Gelasium-based treatment can also be prescribed in case the tics are accompanied by violent head movements and hysterical fits.
Visit to a Doctor: For most Homeopathic treatments, especially for conditions like these, it is important that you visit the doctor for physical examination. Based on your symptoms, the doctor will provide the right dosage and right treatment. Also its important to monitor the progress so that the diseased can be managed. In some cases, if the symptoms cannot be contained by the medication, one may require immediate hospitalisation. The doctor may also check for symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease, as many times tics are a symptom of this disease, especially when they are experienced by adults. In most cases, these patients react well to Homeopathy based treatment methods. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a homeopath.