What is Bell’s Palsy ?

Bell’s palsy is a condition that causes the muscles on one side of the face to become very weak or even paralyzed. When this happens, the face droops on one side. The cause of this is usually damage to the seventh cranial nerve, known as the “facial nerve” . It is more common in people who have diabetes, are pregnant or who have recently had a viral infection, but it can happen to anyone. Bell’s palsy is usually only temporary with the symptoms disappearing within a few weeks to a few months.
Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy:
• Unable to blink on one side
• Facial droop
• Drooling
• Problem with chewing
• Loss of sense of taste
• Unable to close one eye
• Possible pain behind the ear or in the jaw
Diagnosing Bell’s palsy usually involves taking a detailed medical history as well as ruling out other causes of nerve damage to the face. These symptoms can also be caused by a stroke, Lyme disease and a stroke.  A physician may order a few tests to help with the diagnosis. This might include an MRI, a CT scan and an Electromyography (EMG).
Bell’s palsy often will start to resolve on its own after a few weeks. To relieve some of the symptoms, which can be very uncomfortable, a physician might prescribe corticosteroids which have an anti-inflammatory affect and also some physical therapy.  To relieve some pain, a mild pain reliever can be taken such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol.
If you have any symptoms of sudden facial drooping you should go to the nearest emergency room immediately. .

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