05 December 2010

What are the Symptoms of Bell's Palsy?

The main symptom of Bell's Palsy is that one side of your face becomes weak or total paralysis, though it varies from person to person. The symptoms usually come on very quickly and reach their worst point within two to three days. Moreover, someone with Bell's palsy can look forward to getting better in a couple of weeks.

Signs of Bell's Palsy;

Sometimes mild ear ache or pain behind the ear is the first sign of Facial Paralysis.


Numbness on the affected side.

Dryness or watering of the eye.

Drooping of the corner of the mouth, causing difficulty in speaking.

Difficulty chewing or dribbling of food and drinks.

Alteration or loss of taste at the front of the tongue.

Difficulty closing and blinking of the affected eye.

Sensitivity on hearing, probably louder in the affected area.

Changes in the amount of saliva in the mouth.

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned-above, consult your doctor immediately. Although the list of symptoms may be caused by any problems other than Bell's Palsy.

How is Bell's Palsy Diagnosed?

Physicians and doctors often can diagnose Bell's palsy by just looking at the face of the affected person. But to make sure, doctors might do tests like an MRI or CT scan, which take pictures of the inside of the head, to make sure nothing else is causing the facial weakness.

Specialized doctors, such as neurologist will do an electromyography or EMG test to the patient to make sure that most nervous system works and also to check if it has some damage nerves. An EMG can show how well the face's muscles are receiving signals from the facial nerve. That's how doctors diagnose if a person have a bell's palsy.

28 November 2010

Possible Causes of Bell's Palsy

Facial Paralysis occurs when the facial nerve supplying the facial muscles becomes swollen, inflamed or compressed. The exact causes of Facial Paralysis are unknown, but the most common causes are believed to be the following;

  • Viral infections e.g. Herpes Simplex, Herpes Zoster Virus or Viral Meningitis.
  • Exposure to sudden cold.
  • Chronic middle ear infection.
  • Trauma such as head injury.
  • Injury to the facial nerve caused during surgery like parotidectomy.
  • Tumors.
  • Maybe happen with patient that has high blood pressure.
  • Patients with influenza or flu-like illness, headaches.
  • Diabetic patients.

What is Bell's Palsy or Facial Paralysis?

Bell's Palsy or Idiopathic Facial Paralysis is the weakness of the facial muscles on one side due to malfunction of the cranial nerve 7(the facial nerve). It comes on suddenly and has no obvious reason. It occurs in all age groups affecting both genders but commonly on over 15 and under 60 years of age, although diabetics and pregnancy increases the risk for the females.

Bell's Palsy incident are slightly higher during cold weather or winter season.

Statistics set its worldwide frequency at just over 0.02 per cent of the population, with geographical variations - that is, one for every 5,000 people over the course of a lifetime.

* Also don't get confused with Bell's Palsy from Celebral Palsy.


You can download below the Facial Protocol in PDF format:

Physical Therapy Management for Facial Nerve Paralysis

Prepared by: 
Committee of Physical Therapy Protocols
Office of Physical Therapy Affairs
Ministry of Health – Kuwait

With collaboration of: 
Physical Therapy Department 
Kuwait University