HOW WE CAN HELP YOU MANAGE YOUR BELL’S PALSY?
If you are currently experiencing the effects of Bell’s Palsy and would like to talk to a medical professional about further treatment options, it may be time to make an appointment with a specialist. Dr. Jennifer McMonigle Medical PC of Smithtown, NY is a board-certified neurologist with extensive experience in working with patients to manage their Bell’s Palsy. Dr. McMonigle helps to develop a treatment plan that will ease the effects associated with the condition. She will listen to you, understand your circumstances, and work with you to figure out the best path forward so that you may be able to resume your normal life and activities.
WHAT IS BELL’S PALSY?
Bell’s Palsy is a condition that affects the function of the facial nerve. The term ‘palsy’ refers to a weakening and in this case, it is often the result of inflammation of the nerve. The characteristic symptom of Bell’s Palsy is a visible drooping of one side of the patient’s face. This can affect a person’s ability to close their mouth and eye. Although the precise cause of this condition is unknown, the general understanding is that Bell’s Palsy is likely caused by a viral infection in most cases. It has also been associated with Lyme disease and Sarcoidosis in other patients.
Early signs of the condition can be pain on one side of the face that originates just behind the ear. This general ache then develops into a subsequent weakness where the mouth and eyes are then affected. Patients have also described accompanying symptoms including an effect on their ability to taste, blurred vision, inability to wrinkle the forehead or raise the eyebrows. Also increased hearing, a tingling sensation, and tearing on the side of the face where the nerve is affected are common, as is difficulty with swallowing and chewing. The onset of these symptoms will vary in severity from person to person and may occur over a period of hours or days. It can be quite frustrating for patients to discover that the condition may take weeks to self-heal and usually the duration of recovery is directly related to how extreme the case is.
HOW TO TREAT BELL’S PALSY?
The diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy is the first step to proper treatment. There currently isn’t a single test that will diagnose the condition but rather a range of tests to rule out other serious conditions such as a tumor or damage from outside injury. Imagining tests such as a CAT scan or MRI may be helpful in addition to bloodwork to determine if there is an accompanying vitamin deficiency. Your neurologist will look at a wide range of possibilities to determine the next course of action. Once Bell’s Palsy has been determined to be the cause of facial muscle weakness treatment can occur. Sometimes patients will be prescribed a short course of prednisone, a steroid intended to reduce nerve inflammation. Antiviral medications may also be prescribed. To deal with the actual muscle weakness physical therapy or massage therapy may help move things along more quickly and aid recovery.