Can Bells Palsy Be Caused By Stress
Stress plays a very important and negative role in Bells palsy. It is not scientifically proven, yet, it is evident, also from our experience with our patients, that stress participates as a risk factor in Bells palsy.
The following are the two ways, that we believe, could be the negative effects of stress that can increase the risk of facial palsy.
1. Stress suppresses your immune system.
It is known that prolonged stress can suppress your immune system. Every person has a different resilience to stress. Some might be affected more and some less. When you experience stress, your immune system can reduce, and if there is any latent infection present in your body it has the chance to surface. It can be infections such as herpes virus or bacterial infection in your ear, for example. Because of the lowered immune system, it can surface and cause facial palsy.
2. Stress may lead to vascular spasms
Stress can cause spontaneous vascular spasms in your blood vessels. As you know, muscles can contract because of stress. That is why, when we are very scared, our face becomes pale. It is because the muscles of the blood vessels constrict, and the blood stops flowing to the face. As we explain during our seminars, webinars, and in our video courses, when the supply of oxygen to the facial nerve stops it becomes damaged. As the blood vessels constrict, the supply of blood to the face reduces, and this reduction in oxygen can damage your facial nerve.
Living With Bells Palsy
I’m afraid to go out, I think people will stare, how do I explain my condition?
Very simply, you explain that you have Bells Palsy which is an injury to your facial nerve and that causes temporary paralysis to one side of your face. Generally people are just curious and once you explain it are understanding. Most people are not bold enough to ask outright, but try not to take it to heart if people do look, BP is an unusual condition and people are just naturally inclined to look at others who are different. Once you have made the first few journeys out it will become much easier.
When will I get better?
The average recovery period is 8-12 weeks, however it is possible to recover within a month. Around 50% of patients will recover fully within the first weeks and a further 35% will have recovery over the next few months. This is a temporary condition, but 100% recovery is not guaranteed. Regeneration of the facial nerve can continue up to and beyond 18 months. Continued recovery in small increments has been reported years later.
Do I need to take any time off work and if so how soon should I go back?
My child has BP, should they attend school and participate in sports?
For swimming the eye should be protected with Lacrilube and the best swimming goggles you can find. An excellent seal is important. Speedo or Zoggs should be fine, but buy the best.
Will I get Bells Palsy again?
I got Bells Palsy during my last pregnancy, will it happen again?
Does Stress Cause Bell’s Palsy Indirectly
Stress can cause the body to experience unpleasant symptoms, and chronic stress can wreak havoc on a person’s health. Anxiety can have a profound impact on the nervous system as well. Stress is associated with a number of health problems, that run the gamut from seizures to high blood pressure.
When you consider the effects of stress on the body, making a connection between Bell’s palsy and stress is possible. The key is exploring the possible causes of the condition.
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How Is It Treated
For individuals with new-onset Bells palsy, steroids are highly likely to be effective and can increase the probability of recovery of facial nerve function. In most instances, oral steroids should be started within 72 hours of symptom onset if possible, to increase the probability of good facial functional recovery. Some individuals with co-existing conditions may not respond well to or be able to take steroid drugs. Antiviral agents might increase the probability of recovery of facial function, although their benefit has not been clearly established. Analgesics such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen may relieve pain. Because of possible drug interactions, individuals taking prescription medicines should always talk to their doctors before taking any over-the-counter drugs.
Another important factor in treatment is eye protection. Bell’s palsy can interrupt the eyelid’s natural blinking ability, leaving the eye exposed to irritation and drying. Keeping the eye moist and protecting it from debris and injury, especially at night, is important. Lubricating eye drops, such as artificial tears or eye ointments or gels, and eye patches are also effective.
Other therapies such as physical therapy, facial massage, or acupuncture may provide a potential small improvement in facial nerve function and pain.
How To Test For Bell’s Palsy
Your symptoms and the physical examination by your doctor is often the most important part in making a diagnosis of Bell’s palsy.
Often no tests are needed for adequate diagnosis. If X-rays are taken, however, most likely a CT scan or MRI of your head will be performed. This X-ray is only necessary if your doctor suspects a stroke, tumor, or other serious neurological disease as a cause of your symptoms.
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Properties Of Essential Oils
If youre looking for some alternative remedies for Bells palsy, you may have come across essential oils.
Although Bells palsy often heals on its own, there are some precautions you should follow to ensure the process is as safe and painless as possible.
The power of essential oils has been recognized by many people as a natural treatment with few side effects.
These oils are also known to help restore body function.
They may also ease some symptoms.
While the benefits of essential oils for Bells palsy are numerous, some of the most notable are described below.
Many of these oils are organic and have been screened for their pharmacological effects.
Some of these are summarized in Table 2.
Reviving stick oil: This topical application of a blend of essential oils stimulates facial muscle and nerve health.
It also reduces swelling and discomfort in the affected area.
Reviving stick oils are a natural alternative to creams and lotions.
To apply these oils, rub a small amount along the jawline, and apply moist heat to soothe and heal the area.
Aromatherapy is a natural method of relieving a number of conditions, including respiratory problems, skin disorders, and urinary problems.
Medical Treatments For Bell’s Palsy Recovery
The initial treatment involves taking steroids and antiviral medicines, but you may have to take other steps as well to accelerate recovery.
1. Steroid Tablets
You will have to be on a 10-day course of steroid tablets to reduce inflammation. They are quite effective but their long-term use may lead to certain side effects. While taking steroid tablets does not guarantee full recovery, it definitely increases your chances of recovering faster.
2. Antiviral Medicines
Your doctor will give you antiviral medications if they suspect your condition is due to a viral infection. It sometimes proves beneficial for the patient to take antiviral medicines in combination with steroid tablets.
Along with taking medicines, you will get better results by trying some facial exercises. Your physiotherapist will teach you how to perform certain exercises to strengthen your facial muscles. These exercises play a big role in improving coordination in your facial muscles and increasing range of movement. While physiotherapy works great for many, it is not that effective or suitable for everyone.
4. Plastic Surgery
5. Botulinum Toxin Injections
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Facial Nerve Palsy Symptoms
Facial nerve palsy affects one side of the face. It can affect the whole side or just part of a side of the face. The main symptom is weakness, but sometimes sensory changes, like tingling or loss of sensation, can also occur.
Symptoms of facial nerve palsy include:
- Droopy eyelid
- Choking on food, drinks, or saliva
- Trouble breathing
These complications can be serious, but they can often be prevented with measures such as wearing an eye patch to protect the eye.
Is Bells Palsy Caused By Stress
Bells palsy can cause temporary weakness of the facial nerve when there is an inflammation, swelling, or compression on the seventh cranial nerve. The most common causes of this disease are due to viral infection. You may develop this condition after weeks of infection, but it will gradually disappear by six weeks.
The condition can occur at any age but people between the ages of 16 to 60 are more susceptible to Bells palsy syndrome. Medical experts suggest that stress destabilizes the immune system and injures the nervous system which eventually causes paralysis.1
Stress is key for survival however when you are over-stressed you can impair your body functions and can be dangerous. Too much stress can trigger facial paralysis even at a very young age. A study was conducted on Bells palsy patients whose stress levels were high. When they are stressed, some patients noticed the disfiguration of their faces. Doctors noticed that one eye was blinking a half-second slower than the other.
Problems protruded one after the other. The eye problem followed by the tingling of the tongue and lost the feeling completely. Within days, the facial nerves started to fail, and the patients were no longer able to close the eye or mouth and feel anything on the face.2
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Bells Palsy And Stress Almost Cost Me My Face
TheChicSite.com, Author, Lifestyle Expert, Blogger, Public Speaker, and Mom to 4 Kids!
I don’t know about you, but as we make our way into the holiday season, I find that my stress level is increasing. Trying to get all of my work done at the office leaves little time for making holiday plans and making sure my Christmas decorations are perfect. This means I’m constantly making list after list of to-dos and obsessing over little details that no one will ever notice but me. When I start to really overwhelm myself, I am reminded to take a breath and slow down. The last thing I want is to get sick again.
Even though it was eight years ago, I can remember exactly what it felt like when I looked in the mirror and realized how disfigured my face actually was. How I tried to put on eyeliner or mascara, as if adding makeup would somehow make the paralysis go away. Or how, each time I got the makeup on I would inevitably cry it right back off weighed down by the doctor’s prognosis that this could last a few days or months on end, there was no way to be sure.
Possible Causes Of Bell’s Palsy
Different theories exist about the source of the neurological problem, and some things that may trigger the paralysis have associations with stress. In theory, stress may cause Bell’s palsy indirectly because it can trigger conditions that irritate the cranial nerve VII, which leads to paralysis.
Bell’s palsy may be linked to the herpes simplex virus. Just as long term stress can trigger herpes outbreaks, it may trigger a virus that has remained dormant. This virus, in turn, may irritate the cranial nerve VII, which causes the symptoms of Bell’s palsy. The theory is intriguing, but more research is necessary to make a definite link.
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How Is Bells Palsy Treated
Most cases of Bells Palsy can be left untreated until the condition corrects itself. However, this can take a long time, during which you could feel uncomfortable, depending on the severity of your symptoms. The following treatments could help hasten your recovery or ease the symptoms of Bells Palsy.
How Do You Know If You Have Bell’s Palsy
The symptoms of Bell’s palsy may develop suddenly and reach their peak in no time . The most common symptoms include the following:
- You may have weakness or complete loss of control in one side of your face with difficulty closing your eyelid.
- You will experience irritation in the eye with increased tear production.
- You will experience pain underneath your ear on the affected side.
- You will develop increased sensitivity to sound in one ear only.
- You will notice drooling from the mouth, usually on the affected side of your face.
- You will have dry mouth.
Moreover, you may also experience headache, pain around the jaw, dizziness, ringing in one ear, impaired speech, and difficulty drinking or eating.
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What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use the knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
The NINDS conducts and supports an extensive research program of basic science to increase understanding of how the nervous system works and what causes the system to sometimes go wrong, leading to dysfunction. Part of this research program focuses on learning more about the circumstances that lead to nerve damage and the conditions that cause injuries and damage to nerves.
For example, in one research project, scientists are studying two genes to identify the molecular mechanisms involved in the regeneration of nerve projections to their original targets. An understanding of how to regenerate peripheral nerves may lead to ways to prevent nerve damage and injuries from occurring. Additional projects seek to identify the mechanisms and consequences of neuroinflammation on peripheral nerve function.
Knowledge gained from this research may help scientists find the definitive cause of Bell’s palsy, leading to the discovery of new effective treatments for the disorder.
What Is Bells Palsy
Bells palsy causes temporary paralysis, or palsy, of facial muscles. It occurs when a condition, such as a viral infection, causes inflammation and swelling of the seventh cranial nerve .
With Bells palsy, your face droops on one side or, rarely, both sides. You may have a lopsided smile, or an eyelid that wont close. These effects typically last several months and go away without treatment. The condition gets its name from Sir Charles Bell, a Scottish surgeon who first described it during the 19th century.
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Is It A Stroke Or Bells Palsy
Someone should seek immediate medical attention if, in addition to facial drooping, a person:
- has difficulty speaking, for example, with slurred speech
- cannot raise both arms and keep them raised
- suddenly develops weakness on one side of the body
These may be signs of a stroke.
the brainstem to the face and tongue.
There is one on each side of the face, and they:
- help control facial expressions, such as smiling and frowning
- play a role in some jaw movements
- control some muscles affecting the middle ear
- stimulate glands that produce tears and saliva
Inflammation can cause compression on the nerve as it passes through the facial canal, a location near the temple where the nerve passes through the bony skull. This compression can affect the signals that travel from the brain to the facial muscles. This leads to the weakening or paralysis of facial muscles typical of Bells palsy.
Often, there is no clear reason why Bells palsy happens, but seventh facial nerve palsy is also linked to:
for children with Bells palsy.
How Is Bells Palsy Diagnosed
Your doctor will first perform a physical examination to determine the extent of the weakness in your facial muscles. Theyll also ask you questions about your symptoms, including when they occurred or when you first noticed them.
While theres no specific lab test that your doctor can use to confirm that you definitely have Bells palsy, your doctor can use a variety of tests to help make a Bells palsy diagnosis.
These tests can also help rule out other possible causes of facial weakness that may need addressing, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome or Lyme disease.
These tests may include:
Most people who have an episode of Bells palsy will completely recover without complications. However, complications may occur in more severe cases of Bells palsy. These include the following:
- You may have damage to the seventh cranial nerve. This nerve controls your facial muscles.
- You may have excessive dryness in the eye on your affected side, which can lead to eye infections, ulcers, or even vision loss.
- You may have synkinesis, a condition in which moving one part of your face causes another to move involuntarily. For example, your eye may close when you smile.
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How Is It Diagnosed
A diagnosis of Bell’s palsy is made based on clinical presentationacute facial nerve weakness or paralysis on one side of the face with onset in less than 72 hoursand by ruling out other possible causes of facial paralysis. There is no specific laboratory test to confirm diagnosis of the disorder.
Generally, a physician will examine the individual for upper and lower facial weakness. In most cases this weakness occurs to both upper and lower facial muscles, including the forehead, eyelid, and/or mouth. Routine laboratory or imaging studies are not necessary for most cases, but sometimes they can help to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other diseases that can cause facial weakness. A test called electromyography can confirm the presence of nerve damage and determine the severity and the extent of nerve involvement. Blood tests can sometimes help in diagnosing other concurrent problems such as diabetes and certain infections. Diagnostic imaging using magnetic resonance imaging or a computed tomography scan can rule out other structural causes of pressure on the facial nerve and also check the other nerves.