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What Is Bell’s Palsy? Symptoms and Causes

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Our health handles the perception of our personality by other people. Today, many diseases disrupt the balance between our routine and well-being. But many of them can have legitimate causes and consequences. At the same time, there are also those types of diseases that appear for unknown reasons. One such disease is Bell’s palsy.

Facial muscle weakness of the front side characterizes this disease. During the disease, a person cannot control part of their face, which looks saggy. To date, it is not known what specifically causes the main reason of facial paralysis. But some methods and practices can help ease a person’s condition.

 

In our article, we will tell you about the following:

  • Primary symptoms.
  • What is the cause of Bell’s palsy?
  • Risk factors.

Read the article to the end. This way, you’ll know the specifics of the disease. And you’ll understand what you can expect from the condition.

 

What Is Bell’s Palsy?

It is characterized by temporary paralysis of the facial muscles. This may occur due to viral infection. It’s because of inflammation and swelling of the seventh cranial nerve. This nerve controls the muscles. A person cannot control the facial muscles during a malfunction of this nerve. As a result, the face will look saggy.

Most often, with this disease, people have such an effect on only one side of a face. But in some cases, sagging can also be observed from both sides. During a smile, part of the face will remain motionless. And the eyes will be open. This disease can last for one or several months. The disease got its name from Charles Bell. He was a Scottish surgeon who first described the condition in the 19th century.

 

Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy

It is a medical condition. It affects the facial nerve, causing weakness or paralysis on one side of the face. The symptoms can vary. And they depend on the severity of the condition. But people associate several common symptoms with the disorder. The most common of them are:

 

  • Sudden, unexplained weakness or paralysis. It’s usually on one side of the face. This can cause difficulty smiling, closing the eye, or raising the eyebrow on that side. The weakness or paralysis can be partial or complete and occur on one or both sides of the face.
  • Drooping of the mouth. This is another common symptom of Bell’s Palsy. It can cause difficulty speaking, eating, or drinking and lead to drooling. Some people may also experience pain or discomfort around the jaw or behind the ear. All these are on the affected side.
  • Increased sensitivity to sound in one ear, a loss of taste on the front two-thirds of the tongue, and difficulty closing the eye on the affected side. Some patients may also experience tearing or a feeling of dryness in the affected eye.

 

In some cases, people may experience extra symptoms. They can be headaches, neck pain, or a feeling of fullness in the ear. These symptoms are usually mild and do not last for an extended period.

It’s important to note that the condition can occur at any age and affect both men and women. The symptoms of facial muscle weakness usually develop suddenly. And they can range from mild to severe. Some people may experience a complete recovery. In contrast, others may have some residual weakness or other symptoms.

If you experience any symptoms, you must consult a doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment can improve the chances of a full recovery. And a doctor can also rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.

 

Bell’s Palsy Causes

The disease occurs because the seventh cranial nerve can swell or shrink. As a result, the person’s face becomes uncontrollable, leading to paralysis. To date, it is not completely known what the exact cause of this damage is. But many doctors suggest that it is due to a viral infection.

bell's palsy patient

Here is a list of what the causes of Bell’s Palsy are: 

  • Herpes.
  • Hiv.
  • Sarcoidosis.
  • Chickenpox.
  • Epstein-Barr virus.
  • Lyme disease.

 

Many experts in the field of virology believe that the above viruses trigger the disease. It is believed that Bell’s palsy pain may be dormant, and viruses can wake it up. This then leads to disease.

Thus, it is always important to check your symptoms. And especially if you have recently been ill or injured, you should consult a doctor. This will help cut the occurrence of this disease.

 

Risk Factors of Bell’s Palsy

Several risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing the disease. These include:

 

  • Viral infections. Viral infections may be a contributing factor to the development of Bell’s palsy face pain. It can be herpes simplex, the flu, or other respiratory infections.
  • Family history. Individuals with a family history of disease may be at a higher risk of developing the condition.
  • Pregnancy. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing Bell’s Palsy. It’s particularly during the last trimester and in the weeks following delivery.
  • Age. This disease is more common in people aged 15-60.
  • Gender. Men are slightly more likely to develop the condition than women.
  • Chronic illnesses. Chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, and autoimmune disorders may increase the risk.
  • Obesity. The risk of getting the disease is higher if you are obese. Thus, it is very important to follow a healthy diet. This will help reduce the risk of getting sick.

 

Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean a person will develop the condition. Also, many people who develop it have no known risk factors. But keep in mind that reducing some risks can lead to some improvements. That is why you should always adhere to a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition.

 

Risks of Facial Palsy

Bell’s palsy face pain can cause a variety of complications and dangers. Some of the most common include:

 

  1. Facial asymmetry: Facial palsy can cause weakness or paralysis on one side of the face. It leads to facial asymmetry. This can affect a person’s appearance, self-esteem, and social interactions.
  2. Difficulty speaking and eating: Drooping of the mouth caused by facial palsy can make it difficult to speak or eat, which can lead to malnutrition or weight loss.
  3. Eye complications: Bell’s palsy pain can make it difficult to close the eye on the affected side, leading to dryness, irritation, or infection.
  4. Loss of taste: Facial palsy can affect the taste buds on the front two-thirds of the tongue, leading to a loss of taste or a change in the perception of taste.
  5. Hearing problems: Facial palsy can cause increased sensitivity to sound in one ear, which can lead to hearing problems.
  6. Psychological distress: Facial palsy can affect a person’s self-esteem and social interactions, leading to emotional distress, depression, or anxiety.
  7. Long-term complications: In some cases, facial palsy can lead to long-term complications, such as chronic pain or synkinesis, a condition where the person’s facial muscles contract in an unwanted way.

 

It’s important to consult with a doctor as soon as possible if you suspect you have facial palsy. Early treatment can improve the chances of a full recovery and can also help prevent or minimize complications.

 

Bottom Line

As you can see, Bell’s palsy face pain is a rather specific disease. Many people can get this paralysis for no clear reason. But this disease can also quickly recede, and the person may suddenly recover. But in any case, it is important to consider all the risks and symptoms. Thus, you need to contact a specialist in case of any suspicion.

To save yourself or get a course of treatment, seek the help of professionals. Consider the LoneStar Neurology clinic. It is enough to call 214-619-1910 or use the special contact button. After that, our manager will contact you and provide further instructions.

 

FAQs 

  • Is Bell’s palsy hereditary?

Bell’s palsy is not considered to be a hereditary condition. Studies have suggested that there may be a genetic component to the condition. But more research is needed to confirm this.

  • Does stress cause Bell’s palsy?

Stress is not considered to be a direct cause of Bell’s palsy. But stress can be a contributing factor to the onset of the condition. People with Bell’s palsy may be more likely to have had a recent viral infection. It can also be another stressful event in their lives.

  • Should I be worried if I have Bell’s palsy?

It can be alarming to experience sudden facial weakness. But Bell’s palsy is generally self-limiting. It can improve on its own within a few weeks or months. But it is important to consult a doctor if you experience symptoms of it. Early treatment can improve the chances of a full recovery.

  • Does Bell’s palsy affect the brain?

Bell’s palsy does not affect the brain. But it does affect the facial nerve, which controls the muscles of the face. The condition causes inflammation and swelling of the facial nerve. And it leads to weakness or paralysis on one side of the face.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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  1. December 7, 2023

    One thing to consider is that in bell’s palsy paralysis is mainly restricted to a specific group of facial muscles while a stroke typically will affect a much larger area. You should immediately see a doctor to confirm or eliminate the possibilty that a stroke has occured and get further treatment.

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