What is Bell’s palsy?
Bell’s palsy is the most common cause of facial palsy, when the facial nerve becomes damaged or inflamed. This nerve controls muscles in the face and carries taste sensations from the front of the tongue.
What are the Symptoms of Bell’s palsy?
Damage or inflammation of the facial nerve results in weakness or paralysis of one side of the face. Partial or complete paralysis may result in drooping of the eyelid and the corner of the mouth on the affected side. Other symptoms may include hypersensitivity to sound in the affected ear, watering of the eye, drooling from the mouth on the affected side and impairment of taste. It may also be difficult to close the eye on the affected side. Facial palsy also occurs in Ramsay Hunt syndrome, caused by the spread of the herpes varicella-zoster (shingles) virus to the facial nerve. Other symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome include intense ear pain, a rash around the ear, loss of hearing, vertigo, tinnitus, loss of taste, a dry mouth and dry eyes.
What are the Causes of Bell’s palsy?
The precise cause of Bell’s palsy remains unknown, although viral infection is believed to play a part.
Traditional Medical Treatments for Bell’s palsy
Treatment may involve steroid and antiviral therapy. Painkillers may also be required. It’s important to protect the eye from drying, which may result in infection and ulceration.
Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Bell’s palsy
Some people with Bell’s palsy may benefit from:
- Relaxation techniques
- Acupuncture Biofeedback training
- Vitamin therapy, specifically B-12, B-6 and zinc