Name: Bell’s Palsy
Bell’s palsy is a condition caused by paralysis of the seventh cranial nerve, also known as, the facial nerve. The nerve is usually paralyzed due to inflammation or compression. The exact cause for paralysis is not always known, but it is believed to occur following illness with some types of viral infection.
Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy
Signs and symptoms of Bell’s palsy usually affect one side of the face. Diagnosis is made on clinical presentation of signs and symptoms that include facial distortion, twitching, and muscle weakness on one side of the face. The individual may have a drooping eyelid, numbness and sensitivity to sound. It can but rarely affects both sides of the face. Symptoms may sometimes be mistaken for stroke. Bell’s palsy is a condition that is usually selflimited and not related to stroke.
Treating Bell’s Palsy or Treatment of Bell’s Palsy
Individuals with Bell’s palsy must receive immediate evaluation to rule out the possibility of stroke. Most of the time the symptoms of Bell’s palsy will resolve on their own without treatment. It can take weeks to recover from Bell’s palsy. Treatments capable of speeding up recovery time include steroids to help with inflammation, antiviral medications if a known virus is involved, facial massage, ibuprofen and warm compresses to the affected site. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been successful in some cases of moderate to severe incidences of Bell’s palsy. In some studies HBOT was shown to be more effective than certain steroids in the treatment of this condition.