Bell Palsy is a disorder that obstructs the transmission of impulses from the seventh cranial nerve (facial), which is responsible for motor innervations (nerve stimulation) of the facial muscles. The transmission blockage is due to an inflammatory reaction around the nerve (usually at the internal auditory meatus). This disease is progressive. This disorder can affect all age group, but it usually occurs to person under 60 years old.
In about 80% to 90% of patients, this sickness heals, with complete recovery in 1 to 8 weeks, but recovery may be delayed with in older people. If the recovery is partial, contractures may develop on the paralyzed side of the face. Bell’s palsy may occur again on the same or opposite side of the face.
Causes of Bell’s Palsy: Infection, Hemorrhage, Stress, Trauma, Depression, Tumor
Signs and Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy:
- Facial Weakness (on one side of the face)
- Occasionally, aching pain around the angle of the jaw or behind the ear
- Mouth droops, causing drooling on the affected area
- Distorted taste perception on the affected portion of the tongue
- Markedly impaired ability to close eye on weak side
- Incomplete eye closure and Bell’s phenomenon (eye rolling upward as eye is closed)
- Too much tearing when patient attempts to close affected eye
- Inability to raise eyebrow, smile, show the teeth, or puff out the cheek
Electromyography test is being conducted to the patient to helps predict the level of expected recovery by distinguishing temporary transmission defects from a pathologic interruption of nerve fibers.
Massage Treatment is one of the safest treatment for Bell Palsy, to help maintain muscle tone, massage the patient’s face with gentle upward motion two to three times daily for 5 to 10 minutes, or have him massage his face himself. When he is ready for active exercises, teach him to exercise by grimacing in front of a mirror.
Management of Bell Palsy:
- It is important to educate the patient to protect his eye by covering it with an eye patch, especially when outdoors. Tell him to keep warm and avoid exposure to dust and wind. When exposure is unavoidable, instruct him to cover his face.
- Patient with this disorder is prone to excessive weight loss; help the patient cope with difficulty in eating and drinking. Teach him to chew on the unaffected side of his mouth. Give them a soft, healthy balanced diet, eliminating hot foods and fluids. Arrange for privacy at mealtimes to reduce embarrassment.
- Apply a facial sling to improve lip alignment. Also give the patient frequent and complete mouth care, being particularly careful to remove residual food that collects between the cheeks and gums.
- Bring the patient to a psychologist to give him/her a psychological. Give reassurance that recovery is likely within 1 to 8 weeks.