You wake up on a morning like any other—make a pit stop in the bathroom, brush your teeth, rub your weary eyes and peer in the mirror only to notice that the left side of your face is slightly drooping. Now that you really focus, you notice your left eyelid is sagging as well. When you try to move or touch your face, you’re shocked to discover numbness with total muscle paralysis.
No, this isn’t a nightmare, you are experiencing Bell’s palsy, a common form of facial paralysis that typically lasts a few months in duration. However, despite the temporary nature of the condition, the symptoms are pretty darn scary…
What is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s Palsy is characterized as the weakness or total paralysis or of the muscles on one side of your face. Bell’s palsy only strikes the left or right side of the face—not both sides at once.
Facial paralysis is caused by damage or injury to one of the two large facial nerves that branch out and control the muscles on either side of the face. Each nerve sends electronic impulses that trigger facial muscles, but with Bell’s palsy one nerve is paralyzed, which explains the dropping (or sagging) of muscles on one side of the face.
Document date:Fri, 06 Feb 2015 21:36:11 -0800
I’ve spent this week, the week of my one-year anniversary, sharing my Bell’s palsy story–from paralysis to recovery to my top tips for the newly diagnosed. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the posts and have learned more about …
The 5 Musts-Do’s When First Diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy:
Start a steroid regimen within the first 72 hours (earlier if possible) (I took a very high dose, 15-day course of prednisone)
Start an antiviral regimen within the first 72 hours (earlier if possible) (I was on a very high does of Valtrex 2x per day)
REST (If you have a new baby, this means calling in the family or a night nanny. You MUST sleep for the nerve to regenerate.
Protect your eye (I used Celluvisc eye drops, Lacrilube eye ointment and taped down my eye at night to sleep.)
Build your team (From God (or whatever higher power you believe in) to medical doctors to occupational therapists to family and friends, you MUST find support.)
8 Tips and Takeaways When First Diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy
Don’t drink through a straw
Don’t chew gum
Don’t overwork the muscles in your face at onset (either by massage, acupuncture, facial exercises, etc. The nerve needs time to rest,)
Eliminate all possible stress on the body (This goes along with rest but do whatever you have to do to take any pressure off of yourself–for me it was to stop nursing-not an easy decision-while for others it means a medical leave, etc.)
Wear sunglasses to protect the eye from light, wind, and dirt
Tape the eye shut at night to keep light out, to keep dirt and debris out, and to prevent corneal scratches from the sheet
Cold weather exacerbates dry eye so watch the amount of time spent in the cold.
Consider wearing earplugs if certain sounds are extremely loud.