Bell's palsy

Bell's palsy, also known as acute peripheral facial palsy of unknown cause, occurs when there is weakness or paralysis in the facial muscles. It typically begins suddenly and worsens over a short period of time.  Damage to the 7th cranial nerve from a viral infection is thought to be the most common cause.  Pain and discomfort often occur on one side of the face, head or ear and tears, saliva and taste, are commonly affected.  

 

Bell's palsy is usually temporary. Symptoms can start to improve within a few weeks, and complete recovery in about six months, It is important to understand that even when the symptoms of Bell's palsy resolve, the infection is still present. In most cases, the "dormant" or stealth form of the infection continues to cause irregularities in the immune system and can lead to auto-immune conditions as well as other “immune confusion syndromes” such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.  Many people suspect that this immune confusion and the stealth infection(s) causing it play a major role in neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.

 

Symptoms of Bell’s palsy

  • Rapid onset of mild weakness to total paralysis on one side of your face occurring within hours to days

  • Facial droop and difficulty making facial expressions, such as closing your eye or smiling

  • Drooling

  • Pain around the jaw or behind your ear on the affected side

  • Increased sensitivity to sound on the affected side

  • Headaches

  • A loss of taste

In rare cases, Bell's palsy can affect the nerves on both sides of your face.

 

Causes

The exact cause of Bell's palsy is unclear, however it is often the result of a viral infection.  Viruses that have been linked to Bell's palsy include those that cause:

  • Cold sores and genital herpes (herpes simplex)

  • Chickenpox and shingles (herpes zoster)

  • Infectious mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr)

  • Cytomegalovirus infections

  • Respiratory illnesses (adenovirus)

  • German measles (rubella)

  • Mumps (mumps virus)

  • Flu (influenza B)

  • Hand-foot-and-mouth disease (coxsackievirus)

 

Risk factors

Bell's palsy occurs more often in people who:

  • Are pregnant, especially during the third trimester, or who are in the first week after giving birth

  • Have an upper respiratory infection, such as the flu or a cold

  • Have diabetes

Treatment

SOT therapy and Polychromatic light therapy are used to treat the viral cause of Bell's Palsy.