Bell's Palsy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bells palsy is a disorder of the nerve that controls movement of the muscles in the face. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about Bells palsy in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Bells palsy is a paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face. It usually develops over one to three days, and then slowly improves or completely goes away in one to three months.

Most people with Bells palsy recover, but some are left with weakness on one side of the face.

Bells palsy is caused by swelling of the facial nerve. The facial nerve controls muscles on the side of the face, the flow of tears and the ability to taste. There are two facial nerves, one for each side. Bells palsy only affects one facial nerve.

The exact cause of the swelling is not known, but some doctors think that herpes simplex virus type 1, the same virus that causes cold sores, may play a role.

Treatment usually includes steroid pills and an antiviral drug along with facial massage and grimacing exercises. If you start taking medicines within three days of the start of your symptoms, the chances of complete recovery are better.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.