Top Bell's Palsy Fact Answered: How Long To Recover? Incidence Of Bell's Palsy In The USA, Lagophthalmos.
-how well were they managed medically ( most people only see their GP or an ER doc throughout the whole course... Even without significant progress in their symptoms)
-were they diagnosed correctly? Several other known condition create facial paralysis like BP does but the medical treatment is different
-medical history and chronic conditions present
Even though it might seem that BP is common and your doctor will prescribe you with the necessary steroids to alleviate inflammation of the facial nerve, for many, this is where the extent of medical management of BP will end... « as it will go away on its own »...
Well, for one in 4, it does not just go away.
It becomes so important that you, as the patient, become proactive and involved in your medical care early on. Do not let more than 3 weeks pass if you are not seeing changes without talking to your physician and pushing for a referral and consultation with a specialist, such as an otolaryngologist or a neurologist, as well as starting facial exercises by the end of the first week, and getting training, cueing and support in performing them correctly. A trained physical therapist / physiotherapist can help you with that.
Bell's palsy is the most common cause of acute unilateral facial paralysis and represents about 60-75% of cases.
The yearly incidence is 15-30 cases per 100.000 persons. The annual incidence of Bell's palsy in the United States is approximately 23 cases per 100.000 persons, and in the United Kingdom 20 cases per 100.000 persons
1 person in 65 will be diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy in their lifetime.
These numbers varies widely by country
with the highest number of cases being found in Japan according to a study, and Sweden had the lowest reported incidence.
And of course these depends on what has been actually officially reported and studied.
It tends to happen more in winter since lower temperatures are associated with an overall higher risk, from exposure to cold and decreased immunity
Big word for one of the most disturbing and annoying symptoms of bell’s palsy:
The inability to blink.
It can be one of the first symptoms of BP but is certainly one of the most serious as blinking is essential to the health of our eyes.
Our eye relies on blinking to provide enough moisture by way of tearing to the surface of the eye. This is the process that keeps our eye lubricated.
Not being able to blink and normally lubricate the eye, our body, being the extraordinary machine that it is, will alert the brain and tell your eye to produce more tears( well, actually your lacrimal glands create the watery part of the tears).
Because tears are also made up of a mucous like substance and oil, and because the lack of blinking also does not allow the mucous and oil to be mixed properly with the water part, your eyes becomes dry, telling your brain to keep producing tears.
And that is the reason why you might feel you are constantly crying after a diagnosis of BP.
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Pierre-Yves Butheau, MPT, CMP has been a physiotherapist for 19 years and has a passion for helping people move better, return from and prevent injuries, as well as improve their function and quality of life. He has a strong interest in addressing the root cause of and treating neuro-musculoskeletal conditions while educating his patients with the knowledge to manage their conditions and prevent recurrence. Pierre also has a niche in treating Bell's palsy and temporomandibular joint dysfunctions.