Bell's Palsy Treatment in Santa Monica, CA
Causing temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles in the face, and characterized by droopiness or stiffness of one side of your face, Bell's palsy (also known as facial palsy) occurs when the nerve that controls your face's muscles becomes inflamed, swollen or compressed. The nerve damage involved in Bell's palsy may affect your sense of taste, as well as your ability to make tears and saliva. These symptoms typically are temporary and diminish after a few weeks. It is important, however, to consult a healthcare provider when you experience sudden weakness in your facial muscles as to determine that its cause is not more serious, such as a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), as well as to treat the underlying source of your facial weakness or paralysis.
To schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Santa Monica that specializes in Bell's palsy treatment, call (424) 365-1800 or contact Dr. Jeremy Fischer online.
Bell's Palsy Causes
Causes of Bell's palsy remain a mystery, though reactions to certain viral infections—such as herpes , HIV, sarcoidosis and the Epstein-Barr virus—are believed to play a part. In most cases, Bell's palsy causes inflammation to the nerve that controls muscles on one side of the face. Risk factors for Bell's palsy include the following:
- You are pregnant
- You have diabetes
- You have a lung infection
- You have a family history of the condition
Bell's Palsy Symptoms
Symptoms of Bell's palsy typically develop suddenly, often overnight, and may seem unprovoked, though they usually develop one to two weeks after you experience a cold, ear infection or eye infection. The telltale sign of Bell's palsy is a droopy appearance on one side of the face, which is often accompanied by the inability to open or close your eye on the affected side, and a general numbness in the affected side of your face. Rarely, Bell's palsy affects both sides of your face. Additional signs and symptoms of Bell's palsy include:
- Muscle twitches in the face
- Loss of your sense of taste
- Pain in or behind your ear
- Sensitivity to sound
Bell's Palsy Treatment & Recovery
To diagnose Bell's palsy, your healthcare provider will begin by taking a full medical history in which he or she asks you questions related to your symptoms and how they developed. A physical exam will follow as well as a neurological exam to inspect for facial nerve function. An electromyography (EMG) may be recommended to detect nerve damage. If the cause of your symptoms is unclear, additional tests—such as blood tests, an MRI or a CT scan—will likely be recommended to identify the source of your facial paralysis.
Typically, Bell's palsy treatment will include corticosteroid medications, which aim to reduce inflammation while increasing the likelihood of regaining facial movement; starting treatment 3 days after symptoms present will optimize the treatment's efficacy. Your healthcare provider may prescribe antiviral medications if the cause of your Bell's palsy is a viral infection. Your healthcare provider may also recommend practicing Bell's palsy exercises (such as tightening and relaxing your facial muscles) in order to strengthen the muscles of your face and to help you recover more quickly. Massaging your forehead, cheeks and lips with oil or cream may also prove helpful.
Bell's palsy recovery may not require treatment, with most patients completely recovering within 6 months, and this particularly holds true for people who can still feel part of their facial muscles. Recovery depends on the severity of nerve damage you experience and may be optimized with prompt treatment that ensures complications are avoided. A small percentage of affected patients may experience permanent weakness or other problems on the affected side of the face.
Seek Bell's palsy treatment in Santa Monica with a qualified healthcare provider. Call (424) 365-1800 or contact Dr. Jeremy Fischer online.
Vitality Integrative Medicine
Address4849 Van Nuys Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
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Wed: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
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Fri: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
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