Bell’s Palsy is a condition that usually develops from a viral infection affecting the facial nerve. One example is Lyme Disease.
Initially, most people will feel pain behind their ears or a sense of numbness or pulling. They may experience difficulty drinking out of a glass.
Some believe they may be having a stroke; however, this condition does not extend beyond one side of the face.
Inability to wrinkle brow
Drooping eyelid; inability to close eye
Inability to puff cheek
Drooping corner of mouth
Alarmingly, one will also notice their face drooping over to one side, inability to wrinkle their brow, a drooping eyelid, and the inability to close their eye.
Symptoms may last a few weeks for most people with complete resolution. However, there are a small percentage of individuals who will have residual deficits.
Many patients experience muscle cramps or pain anywhere on the face or the head. Some feel fatigued.
Bell’s Palsy often disrupts the eyelid’s natural blinking ability, and it’s usually very difficult to close the eye on the side of the face that is affected.
This leaves the eye exposed to accidental injury and excessive dryness. Excessive dryness in the eye can lead to irritation, infection, or corneal ulcers.
The eye must be kept moist and protected with the use of lubricating eyedrops and eye patches.
There are other conditions that may cause facial paralysis, so it is important to seek medical attention if you have these symptoms. If there are additional symptoms such as weakness, changes in speech, blurred or double vision, difficulty with walking, and numbness then further evaluation would need to be done for possible stroke.
Recovery from Bell’s Palsy usually begins 2 weeks to 6 months from the onset of the symptoms. Most people recover full facial strength and expression. In rare cases, it can linger or have residual effects.
It’s important to get plenty of rest, follow all medical advice from your doctor, and maintain a healthy diet. It may be necessary to give your body some time off to recover.