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BELL’S PALSY

BELL’S PALSY

What is Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s palsy is the weakness of the muscles on one side of the face, which leads to drooping of that side of the face.

This is the result of the swelling and irritation of the 7th cranial nerve– the facial nerve that controls the muscles of one side of the face. When the facial nerve is swollen, it cannot control the muscles of the face. So there hanging down of that side of the face.

Bell’s palsy also leads to one sided smile, decreased taste sense and decrease or increase in production of tears and saliva.

Bell’s palsy occurs suddenly after a viral infection and gets better in a few weeks on its own, completely resolving within 3-6 months.

Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy

The symptoms may come on suddenly overnight and resolve gradually over few weeks to few months. The symptoms of Bell’s palsy are:

  • Sudden onset of weakness or total paralysis of one side of the face which causes it to hang down.
  • Cannot close the eye on the side of the weakness of the face.
  • Excessive production of saliva which leaks down from the side of the mouth due to the weakness of that side of the face.
  • One-sided smile. Cannot make facial expressions like frowning, showing teeth, laughing etc.
  • Impairment in the production of tears on the affected side of the face. Excessive tears in the eye or a complete dryness of the eye.
  • Pain in or behind the ear and around the jaw.
  • Increased sensitivity to sound on the affected side
  • Loss of sensation of taste
  • Numbness or loss of sensation in the affected side of the face.

Causes of Bell’s Palsy

The exact reason for Bell’s palsy is unknown, but it may be caused by an exposure to certain viral infections like herpes simplex or herpes zoster viruses.

Less commonly it can also be caused by Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, adenoviruses, rubella virus, influenza virus, and mumps virus.

After coming in contact to any of these viruses, the facial nerve which controls the muscles on one side of the face becomes swollen and irritated which leads to Bell’s palsy.

Risk factors:

  • In pregnancy during the third trimester that is, the last 3 months
  • After an infection of cold or flu
  • Those who have Diabetes mellitus
  • There is a genetic tendency or family history of Bell’s palsy in some people who get repeated attacks of Bell’s palsy.

Diagnosis:

There is no specific test to diagnose Bell’s palsy.

The patient will be asked the proper history of how the symptoms started. He will be also told to make some facial expressions like closing the eyes, smiling, frowning, lifting the eyebrows, etc. to confirm the diagnosis.

Other tests to rule out other conditions of facial muscles weakness are:

  • Electromyography (EMG): this test confirms the presence of nerve damage and is used to determine the amount of damage to the nerve. It measures the activity of the muscle, once it is stimulated by the nerve.
  • CT scan or MRI scanning: this may be needed to rule out the other causes that can cause facial muscle weakness like brain tumors or skull fracture.

Self help

  • The eye that cannot be closed should be lubricated using the eye drops and protected from infection by using glasses or goggles during the day and an eye patch at night while sleeping.
  • Massaging the forehead, cheeks, and lips with oil and gentle facial exercises can help in relaxing the facial muscles.
  • If there is no sensation on one side of the mouth, the chewing and swallowing of food become a problem, and the food gets stuck making the teeth decay. Hence proper brushing of teeth and mouthwash is necessary to prevent tooth decay and gum diseases.
  • Eat soft, smooth foods by chewing it slowly.

Homoeopathic Management in Bell’s Palsy

A well chosen homeopathic medicine will result in a complete cure of Bell’s palsy and will help to reverse the condition and prevent relapse.

Aconite

  • Bell’s Palsy after sudden exposure to cold air
  • Anxiety with intense fear of death
  • One cheek red and other pale
  • Tingling of facial muscles with numbness
  • Face is red hot and swollen, left sided affection
  • Extreme Restlessness

Belladonna

  • Redness of face
  • Neuralgia of face with twitching of facial muscles
  • Face is hot and swollen
  • Over sensitiveness to light and noise
  • Congestion of face
  • Bell’s palsy after exposure to draft of cold air, getting wet, the sun, uncovering the head

Causticum

  • Right facial paralysis
  • Pain in jaw resulting in difficulty to open mouth
  • Pain in facial bones
  • Weakness of ocular muscles after exposure to cold
  • Indistinct speech due to paralysis of tongue

Cocculus

  • Facial nerve paralysis
  • Cramps in masseter muscles,< opening mouth
  • A headache from riding in carriage

Agaricus

  • Stiffness of facial muscles on one side
  • Anxiety about health
  • Twitching, itching, and burning
  • Tearing pain in cheeks as of splinters
  • Neuralgia as if icy cold needles piercing the skin

Nux vomica

  • One sided facial paralysis
  • Impatient, irritable patient
  • Oversensitive to external stimuli
  • Chilly patient