The Psychosocial Impact of Bell's Palsy

Bell's palsy is a momentary loss of muscular control over one side of the face. Most occurrences of weakness are transient, becoming well within a few weeks. Signs and symptoms may be little, or they may be very severe. Muscle twitching, weakness, and inability to move one or both sides of the face are all possible symptoms. The lowering of an eyelid, a distinct change in taste, and discomfort in the auricle are all indications. The onset of symptoms is typically 48 hours. Hyperacusis, extreme sensitivity to sound, may be brought on by Bell's palsy. Bell's palsy may strike at any time and age group for no apparent reason. Diabetic conditions, recent upper respiratory infections, and pregnancy are risk factors. Caused by an issue with nerve palsy Viii. An infectious disease that causes swelling is a popular theory for this phenomenon. Diagnosis relies on observing the patient and eliminating other potential reasons. Facial weakness may be caused by a brain tumor, stroke, Ramsey Hunt disorder type 2, muscular dystrophy, or Lyme disease.

What is Bell's Palsy?

One−half of the face may suddenly become weak due to Bell's palsy. Most occurrences of weakness are transient, becoming well within a few weeks. The inability causes one side of the face to sag. The eyelid on the afflicted side of the face refuses to close when the person smiles. Acute peripheral facial paralysis of unclear origin is another name for Bell's palsy. It has no age restrictions. The root of the problem is yet to be determined. The swollen and inflamed nerve that regulates the facial muscles solely on a single side is likely to blame. Possible triggers include post−viral reactions. Symptoms should improve within weeks, and full recovery should occur within the next six months. Some patients with Bell's palsy never fully recover from their condition. The second episode of Bell's palsy is quite unusual.

What are the Causes of Bell's Palsy?

Diabetic conditions, recent upper respiratory infections, and pregnancy are risk factors. It is believed that certain viruses, such as the herpes family's chickenpox and Epstein−Barr virus, may cause a chronic infection without presenting any obvious signs or symptoms. One theory for what causes acute Bell's palsy is that a latent virus suddenly becomes active. The pressure inside the Fallopian canal is caused by the swelling and inflammation of the facial nerve in response to the infection, cutting off blood and oxygen supply to the nerve cells. HIV, sarcoidosis, and Lyme disease are some other germs and viruses associated with Bell's palsy onset. Stress, toxic substances in the environment, or a chemical imbalance in the body might set off this new activation. Between 4 and 14 percent of cases have been traced to a familial cause.

Moreover, a link to migraines is possible. After numerous clinical study participants recorded numerous instances, the U.S. FDA advised in December 2020 that users of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID−19 vaccinations be monitored for signs of Bell's palsy. However, the data were insufficient to establish a causative relationship.

What are the Treatment Methods of Bell's Palsy?

Following are the major treatment methods −

Antivirals − According to a study, Bell's palsy patients with mild to moderate symptoms may not benefit from antivirals beyond using steroids alone. When paired with corticosteroids, another study revealed improvement. However, the evidence was not strong. It is also not obvious in cases of severe illness. Regardless matter how severe the condition was, one study from 2016 showed no impact. Another study showed the addition of steroids to have a little advantage. Due to a possible association between Bell's palsy and the herpes virus and varicella zoster viruses, their use is widespread. They have not been completely disproven yet; thus, a smaller advantage than 8% is still possible.

Psychotherapy − Some people with Bell's palsy may benefit from physiotherapy because it stimulates the facial nerve and helps maintain muscular tone in the afflicted facial muscles. Preventing lasting contractures of the paralyzed facial muscles requires early intervention in muscle re−education activities and soft tissue methods. Applying heat to the part of the face that is hurting might help alleviate the discomfort. Despite its potential benefits, robust data does not support Bell's palsy's electrical activity.

Surgery − Facial nerve paralysis that has not improved with therapy may benefit from surgery, and different methods may be used. Smile reconstruction or smile surgery may help those who have lost the ability to smile due to paralysis of the facial nerve. The loss of hearing is one of the negative side effects that might occur (3−14 percent of the population). Reviewing relevant randomized and quasi−randomized controlled studies, the Cochrane Collaboration could not conclude whether or not early surgery is advantageous. The American Academy of Neurosurgery no longer recommends surgical decompression for this condition as of 2008.

Steroid − Prednisone and other corticosteroids are advised because they hasten healing after six months. The recovery rate increases by 14% if therapy begins quickly after the onset of symptoms.


When one has Bell's palsy, one's facial muscles become weak or paralyzed, usually on one side of the face. It develops if swelling, inflammation, or compression of the cranial nerve responsible for the movement of the face muscles. Frustration is common after a diagnosis of Bell's palsy. There is no quick−fix drug or therapy since its exact cause is unknown. In addition, one person's ideal solution may not be appropriate for another. Even though Bell's palsy is typically just a transitory disease, it may test one's patience as one waits for the facial nerves and muscles to begin functioning normally again.

Updated on: 27-Jan-2023


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