What is Facial Paralysis?
Facial paralysis or Facial palsy is the sudden loss of muscle movement in the face. This is also known as Seventh cranial nerve paralysis. While it can happen on both sides of the face, mostly it will happen on one side. The face on the affected side will appear as drooped and all muscle movement on that side of the face will stop. Bell’s palsy is the most common form of facial paralysis. It can come suddenly without any notice, however can be cured with proper treatment.
Bell’s palsy - Causes and Risk Factors
The cause of Bell’s palsy is not fully known to modern medicine yet. Seventh cranial nerve also known as ‘facial nerve’ is the nerve that controls facial muscles and movement. This nerve passes through a very narrow corridor of bone on to the face. Any inflammation or swelling in the nerve due to infections or tumors is known to cause Bell’s palsy.
Some of the main causes for this infection are
• Infection in the ear or damage in the ear
• Infections like Herpes Simplex, Chicken pox, Mumps
• Injury or fracture in the skull/face region
• Other complications like Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis
• Intake/mastication of hard substances
People with the following characteristics are at a greater risk of being affected by facial paralysis.
• Women who are pregnant especially those in the third semester (week 27 to 40)
• Those who had respiratory channel infection
• Those suffering from head and neck tumors
Symptoms of Facial Paralysis:
Symptoms appear suddenly without notice or warnings. These include
• Sudden drooping of the face on one side
• Difficulty in closing eyes or smiling
• Drooling, loss of taste sense
• Pain in the jaw and surrounding area
• High sensitivity to sound on the affected side
Facial Paralysis Diagnosis
Doctors can identify facial paralysis through simple physical examinations. In some cases, tests like X-rays, CT Scan or MRI may be suggested to rule out other disorders.
Facial Paralysis Treatment
People suffering from facial palsy normally recover fully within 6 months or so. Treatments may include corticosteroids like prednisone which are anti-inflammatory. Physical therapy and eye care exercises may be required for some people to become fully normal.
Surgery is not required in normal scenarios. However, any complications arising out of facial paralysis like cornea disorders or eyelid issues may need corrective surgery for those issues.
Facial Paralysis Ayurvedic Treatment
Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical system which is in existence for more than 3000 years, has effective treatment for Facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy. As per Ayurveda, a healthy body constitution is when the three doshas namely vata, pitta and kapha are in balance. These three doshas are responsible for all body functions with vata controlling circulation and movement of air within the body, pitta is responsible for digestion and metabolism and kapha takes care of lubrication and shape formations. Ancient Ayurveda scriptures have detailed recording of various ailments, their causes and treatments to be followed.
Facial paralysis is referred to as ‘Ardita’ in Ayurveda and is classified as a vata aggravated disease. Intake of hard substances, improper postures (especially while sitting and sleeping), suppression of natural urges like sneezing etc. contributes to vitiated vata which makes air movement to take unusual/opposite directions in the body. This manifests as Bell’s palsy or Facial paralysis.
Ayurvedic treatment for Bell’s palsy include Oil massages (Abyanga), Induced sweating (swedana) and administration of medication through nostrils (Nasya). Treatment duration will typically be around 21-28 days and the cost of Facial paralysis Ayurvedic Treatment will be approximately between 1,300 to 3,800 USD.