Bell’s palsy is a form of temporary facial paralysis. It results from dysfunction of cranial nerve VII, a facial nerve, which directs the muscles on one side of the face, including those that control eye blinking and closing and facial expressions such as smiling. The facial nerve also carries nerve impulses to the tear glands, the saliva glands, and the muscles of a small bone in the middle of the ear. The facial nerve also transmits taste sensations from the tongue. This means, that a person affected with Bell’s palsy may have tears flowing from the eyes which needs wiping, inability to hold water in the mouth, and many feel numbness and in some cases, with pain on one side of the face.
Generally, Bell’s palsy affects only one side of the face; however, in rare cases, it can affect both sides.
What are the symptoms?
Because the facial nerve has so many functions and is so complex, damage to the nerve or a disruption in its function can lead to many problems. Symptoms of Bell’s palsy can vary from person to person and range in severity from mild weakness to total paralysis. The most common symptom is sudden weakness of one side of the face. Other symptoms may include drooping of the mouth, inability to hold water in the mouth, uncontrolled flow of saliva from the mouth, and many feel numbness and in some cases, with pain on one side of the face, inability to close eye which can cause dryness of the eye, and excessive tearing in one eye. Individuals may also have facial pain or abnormal sensation, altered taste, and intolerance to loud noise. Most often these symptoms lead to significant facial distortion.
What causes Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy, like paralysis is caused by emotional as well as mental stress. Though modern research is not able to attribute a specific cause, Ayurveda and traditional medicine points towards becoming sensitive with emotions of anger, frustration, irritation and being annoyed as well as severe mental stress.
Can Bell’s palsy progressively lead a stroke?
Bell’s palsy and a brain stroke are two different medical conditions. While Bell’s palsy is caused by inflammation of cranial nerves, a stroke is caused by a brain tumour or a clot in the brain. Bell’s palsy is temporary and can stay longer than anticipated while paralysis usually kills a part of the brain cells and can permanently damage or disfigure the body with severely restricted movement.