Facial paralysis is a medical condition in which a person cannot move facial muscles on one side or both sides. As per the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke report, around 40,000 US citizens experience sudden facial paralysis due to Bell’s palsy every year.
In this blog post, you will learn everything about facial paralysis, including facial paralysis conditions, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.
- Bell’s palsy – it is one of the paralysis conditions in which the patient experiences facial weakness on one side or both sides. Common symptoms of Bell’s palsy include headaches, jaw pain, drooling, and changes in saliva production.
- Acoustic Neuroma – it is a non-cancerous brain tumor that causes facial paralysis. Some common symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma are hearing loss, headaches, and some other physical symptoms.
- Moebius Syndrome – it is a neurological condition in which the patient is unable to control eye movement or cannot produce facial expressions.
Several other facial paralysis conditions like Parotid Cancer, Congenital Facial Nerve Palsy, and Lyme disease have similar symptoms.
Several facial paralysis causes, like a blocked artery in your brain or neck. Some people experience facial paralysis due to damage to the spinal cord or brain in an accident or sports injury. In some patients, swelling and inflammation of the cranial nerve VII are found, which could cause facial paralysis.
Many scientists believe the reactivation of dormant viral infection could also be one of the facial paralysis causes. When the facial nerves swell or become inflamed due to viral infection, it causes pressure on the Fallopian canal through which facial nerves pass. The pressure causes restriction of oxygen and blood to facial nerve cells leading to facial paralysis.
Different methods diagnose facial paralysis, the simplest being the clinical method.
- Clinical Presentation
Suppose the patient experiences paralysis conditions on one side or both sides or acute facial nerve weakness lasting more than 72 hours. In that case, the doctor may conclude the patient has facial paralysis.
An Electromyography is a test that involves inserting very thin wire electrodes into facial tissue. The electrodes assess the changes in the electrical activity that occur during facial muscle movement and when they are at rest. The electromyography test can be useful to determine the extent of nerve damage and the severity of the condition.
In some cases, doctors may recommend diagnostic imaging methods like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) to rule out structural causes of pressure on facial nerves like an artery compressing a nerve.
Facial paralysis can be treated in many ways, but the right treatment depends on the cause and diagnosis results. Facial paralysis conditions like Bell’s Palsy are treated with steroids as they increase the chances of restoring nerve function. Some patients are also given antiviral agents and steroids that might help in faster recovery and restoration of nerve function.
Doctors also recommend analgesics like ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen to treat pain associated with facial paralysis. Other treatment therapies like acupuncture, facial massage, and physical therapy can also help in improving facial nerve function and pain.
The information given in this guide will help you understand different aspects of facial paralysis and help you make the right decision about effective treatments for this neurological disorder.