First signs of Bells Palsy and what you can do to help the healing process and reduce long-term damage.
If you suspect you have Bells Palsy, do not hesitate to call your GP. While, in most cases, Bells Palsy will clear itself up within a few months it can have long term effects if not quickly treated with a course of steroids. The quicker you begin to treat it, the less chance you have of having long term affects.
Initial signs can include: Loss of taste or constant bad taste in mouth, headaches, pain in or around the ear and slight twitching in the face usually around the eye or mouth.
Now usually these can be a common sign of a cold and the majority of us will ignore it. If, however, you begin to feel any numbness or paralysis around the face then you have to act quickly.
Bells Palsy causes full or partial paralysis in facial muscles. Usually it will affect one side of the face but in rare cases it can be both sides. Mostly noticeable around the eye, nose and mouth Bells Palsy can cause a drooped appearance on the affected side.
It can affect any age but is more likely to have longer lasting affects in older people. It can, however, be more distressing to a child.
You may notice it when you try to eat or perhaps blink. If one side of your face is not reacting properly then go to the doctor as quickly as possible. When you tell any medical practitioner about facial paralysis they will ask about arm or chest pains. Don’t panic, they’re just making sure it’s not a sign of something more urgent.
The likelihood is a course of steroids. You might receive a course of anti vials depending on other symptoms. Ensure to set an appointment in the near future to check on your progress.
In the meantime there are a few things you can do to reduce discomfort and aid the healing process.
When your eye won’t close properly or blinking is difficult your eye can dry out easily. Your doctor can help with this if this becomes a serious problem. If it’s just a discomfort, buy yourself some drops or a spray. You won’t regret it.
You can also exercise the facial muscles to help them repair. Your GP might refer you to a physiotherapist (or you can request one) to help with this. The exercise does not take long and, done correctly, can really help the healing process. I wouldn’t recommend doing them in public though, you may get more than a few weird looks.
A common misconception is chewing gum can help. Chewing gum actually exercises the wrong muscles and can have adverse affects. You should, however, try to chew on both sides of your mouth.