- Facial palsy
- Facial cranial nerve paralysis
- Bell palsy
- Antoni's palsy
- Facial nerve palsy
Your QuestionI was diagnosed with Bell's palsy about 2 years ago. Although I was told that the symptoms would resolve within a few months, I continue to have recurrent ear infections and issues with my right eye. What treatments are available for this condition?
We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.
Questions on this page
Some cases of Bell's palsy are mild and do not require treatment. In these cases, symptoms may subside on their own within 2 weeks. For those cases that do require treatment, steroids such as prednisone have been used with success to reduce inflammation and swelling. Other medications such as acyclovir --used to fight viral infections -- may shorten the course of the disease. Analgesics such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen may relieve pain. Because of possible drug interactions, patients should always talk to their doctors before taking any over-the-counter medicines. Keeping the eye moist and protected from debris and injury is important. Other therapies such as physical therapy, facial massage or acupuncture may also be used. In general, decompression surgery for Bell's palsy is controversial and is seldom recommended.
Other therapies that may be useful for some individuals include relaxation techniques, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, biofeedback training, and vitamin therapy (including vitamin B12, B6, and zinc), which may help nerve growth. Other therapies include Botox for synkinesis, hypertonicity and muscle spasms, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, and nerve and muscle grafts and transpositions.
Additional information about the treatment of Bell's palsy can be found at the following link from the Bell's Palsy Information Site: http://www.bellspalsy.ws/treatment.htm
This site also provides a resource which lists treatment centers which offer acute care and/or treatment of longstanding cases of Bell's palsy. Visit the following link to access this list of facilities.
The prognosis for individuals with Bell's palsy is generally very good. The extent of nerve damage determines the extent of recovery. With or without treatment, most individuals begin to get better within 2 weeks after the initial onset of symptoms and recover completely within 3 to 6 months. For some, however, the symptoms may last longer. In a few cases, the symptoms may never completely disappear. In rare cases, the disorder may recur, either on the same or the opposite side of the face.
- Bell's Palsy. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). 2005; http://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/bells-palsy/.
- NINDS Bell's Palsy Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). April 16, 2015; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/bells/bells.htm.
- Bell's Palsy Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). April 16, 2015; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/bells/detail_bells.htm.
- Facial Exercises. Bell's Palsy Information Site. 2008; http://www.bellspalsy.ws/exercise.htm. Accessed 1/12/2010.
- Diels J. Facial Retraining. Bell's Plasy Information Site. 2008; http://www.bellspalsy.ws/retrain.htm. Accessed 1/12/2010.
- Botox for Residuals. Bell's Palsy Information Site. 2008; http://www.bellspalsy.ws/botox.htm. Accessed 1/12/2010.
- Surgery. Bell's Palsy Information Site. 2008; http://www.bellspalsy.ws/surgery.htm. Accessed 1/12/2010.