Bell’s palsy is a type of facial paralysis. The 7th cranial nerve of our body is called the Facial Nerve. When this nerve becomes partially or completely paralyzed, it is called Bell’s palsy or facial paralysis. The disease was first discovered by a Neurosurgeon named Charles Bell, who named it Bell’s Palsy. Studies show that 11-40 people out of every 100,000 people in the world are attacked by Bell’s palsy every year. Source:-www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16138286/
What happens in Bell’s Palsy?
Many small muscles are responsible for the movement or gestures of our face. These muscles are controlled from the brain which controls both sides of the face equally through the two facial nerves. Laughing, crying, looking with amazement, whistling, winking, different facial expressions of our daily life are all subtly controlled through this nerve. In a sentence, Bell’s palsy is a facial deformity caused by a decrease in the function of the nerve on one side of the mouth.
The exact cause of Bell’s palsy is still unknown. However, some factors are usually present, such as diabetes, cold problems, viral infections, pregnancy, family history, etc.
If Bell’s palsy occurs on the left side; if you try to smile then your lips and face will bend to the right side of your face.
There will be problems with chewing food.
Not being able to whistle or puff cheeks.
Having trouble with closing one side of the eye.
Feeling pain in one side of the ear.
Not getting the taste of food on one side of the tongue.
What should be done?
The first thing that comes to mind is whether it is a brain stroke or not, but in the case of a stroke, the symptoms appear immediately where it takes about one to two days for the symptoms of Bell’s palsy to appear. And in the case of a stroke, one side of the body usually becomes paralyzed or numb, which is never the case in Bell’s palsy. In this case, it is the right decision to seek the help of a doctor immediately without wasting time. Physicians may prescribe steroids and antiviral drugs and may recommend eye drops and eye masks to keep the eyes closed during sleep. He will refer to a physiotherapist later.
Role of the Physiotherapist:
A physiotherapist will first reassure the patient about how long it will take to recover and what advice the patient will follow at home. The study found that most patients begin to recover after two weeks and recover completely within three to six months at the same time get back to normal appearance. And that is why a physiotherapist treats the patient through specific therapeutic exercises. Therapeutic exercises include motor point stimulation, soft tissue massage, facial muscle stretch-release technique, electrical nerve stimulation, Faradic stimulation etc.
Massage the affected side with hands
Close your mouth and puff up your cheeks, move the air from one cheek to the other
Try to whistle
Drink water with a straw
If you have the trouble of closing your eyes, use a patch or, sunglasses
You can do the exercises shown below while standing or, sitting in front of a mirror.
Rayhan is a Registered Physiotherapist with degrees from BPT, Faculty of Medicine, DU (NITOR), Masters in Public Health (NSU), PGD, Sports Biomechanics (BKSP), Bobath Approach (India) and Cupping Therapy (India). He has worked in a variety of settings, encompassing Orthopaedics, Urological & Sports Physiotherapy through Mayfair Wellness Clinic.