Bell's Palsy. Anyone had it or know someone who did?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Chris Dias, Mar 10, 2004.

  1. Chris Dias

    Chris Dias Stunt Coordinator

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    Well last year when I was living in England I got Bell's Palsy. For those of you that don't know what it is and that is probably alot of you cause I hadn't even heard of it until I got it, it is a facial paralysis. Basically one half of your face is totaly paralysed because of damage to the nerve right behind your ear. this damage is usually caused by a virus.

    So one day last February (2003) I just felt a slight tingling behind my ear but thought nothing of it, then the next day around lunchtime I started to notice the my eye wasn't blinking properly and then by about dinnertime the right side of my face was totaly paralysed. It was really weird. So I went to the doctor the next morning and they told me what it was and everything. For straight weeks I couldn't even twitch anything. It was strange to see things like, one eyebrow raising, and one nostril flaring and things like that, but the most annoying part was that my eye couldn't blink. So I had to tape it closed for most of the time.

    Then after 2 weeks I finally got a little twitch out of my cheek and I was so pleased with myself. Then it was still months until things got back to normal. But the problem is things actually aren't back to normal yet. It is almost 100% and nobody can notice anything unless I really point it out, but I still don't have total control.

    I'm thinking of looking into Accupuncture or something like that. Has anyone had any experience with this? Any advice or stories you want to pass on?

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  2. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    No personal experience but I wish you continued healing. If you have exhausted all traditional medical treatments and are not satisfied, I think acupuncture may be worth pursuing. At worst, it won't hurt, and at best it might help.

    From what I have learned so far in med school, Bell's palsy is a paralysis of CN VII, the Facial Nerve. The onset may be associated with a virus, but is often idiopathic (what doctors say when they don't know what causes something). In some cases, the symptoms may not completely resolve. Good luck and keep us updated.
     
  3. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I have a friend that had it. It was wild seeing her face. One side of her mouth frowned all the time. She recovered a few weeks later. However, I remember reading up on it while she had it and reading that occasionally, there can be some permanent damage. So, it can be quite serious.

    If I were you, I'd check with a specialist to see if there is any exercises or therapy you could try.
     
  4. Craig Robertson

    Craig Robertson Supporting Actor

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    i've had it, twice. got it a few years ago and it was pretty much as you describe. my doctor gave me an anti-viral as a precaution and steroids to try to reduce the inflamation of the nerve. almost exactly one year later, i got it again on the other side. ( strangely enough, i also had chicken pox twice, once as an infant and once a few years ago as an adult.)
     
  5. Dave_Brown

    Dave_Brown Supporting Actor

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    I came down with it once back in '95. I was in the military stationed in Hawaii and it just came out of nowhere. I was out playing golf with a buddy and went to use my video camera when I noticed I couldn't close my left eye to look through the eye piece.

    I had no idea what was going on and could feel the left side of my face continue to go number throughout the day. I called a buddy of mine who was also a medic and he wasn't sure what it was. He started to worry that I possibly had a mild stroke!
    I called my mom who worked at a pharmacy and the pharmacist and family friend got on the phone, listened to my deal and told me it was Bell's Palsy. Never heard of it prior to that. He told me if I didn't get to a doctor to get on medication it could become permanent or reoccuring later in life.

    I guess I was lucky as mine only lasted a week or two but it sure was weird to talk or laugh and not be using the left side of my face. Or blinking and one eye not closing. Everyone started to call me half and half, yeah a great group of guys I worked with! [​IMG] Almost 10 years later and there is no signs of it and I hope it won't show up again when I get old and things start to sag. [​IMG]
     
  6. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    Jim Ross of the WWE has also dealt with Bells' palsy for several years.
     
  7. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    A friend of mine's mother got Bell's Palsy after having an operation to remove a brain tumor. It's taken a while to get better, and she still has it a bit, but it's much better than right after her sugery.
     
  8. andrew markworthy

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    My mum had it a few years ago, but went after a couple of weeks (the B's P, not my mum). My understanding is that although it can be disconcerting, it nearly always goes eventually and is not in itself 'serious'. Although this may be cold comfort, it's also pretty common.
     
  9. DannyL

    DannyL Stunt Coordinator

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    chris, the seventh cranial nerve has different branches all originating from the same brain stem nucleus. when bell's palsy occurs the inside of the nerve degenerates which is usually caused by a viral infection. the outside of the nerve is intact- think of it as a cable with only the insulation but no wire. eventually what will happen is the inside of the nerve will regenerate slowly over time- approximately 1mm per day. a majority of people with bell's palsy will regain 100% normal function, but not everyone.


    sometimes what will happen is the branch let's say the one that lets you close you eyelid may send some impulses to the muscle that lets you smile. so you may notice mild weakness when you blink or you may even notice that when you blink the corner of your mouth may twitch- this is called synkinesis.


    unfortunately with your being more than one year out from the paralysis, the facial movement you have is probably going to be at its best. there will likely be little improvement beyond one year. i do not know of any studies showing accupuncture improving facial paralysis. i'm sure it won't hurt but i don't think it will do anything at this point since the different branches of the nerve are hardwired.

    the only studies that have shown any improvement are the ones starting patients on acyclovir and prednisone right away. this has become the current standard of care in the united states. these two medications have shown statistical significance in improving overall outcome and rapidity in recovery in double blinded studies. hope this helps.
     
  10. Craig Robertson

    Craig Robertson Supporting Actor

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    this is what I was treated with both instances that i had BP. both times i recovered quickly with no lingering affects.
     
  11. Chris Dias

    Chris Dias Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all of the replies so far.



    This is exactly what is happening to me. my mouth and my eye are sort of attached. So when I yawn or when I am eating, my eye sort of closes a bit. Thanks for explaining that to me.

    I was on prednisolone right away for 5 days. Yeah I am a bit worried that I've come as far as I'll go since it has been a year already, but last week I started feeling some twitching in my nose and some tingling behind my ear, which was kind of what I felt while the other sruff was recovering. So who knows. I'm not all that bothered by it, and like I said no one can notice it, but it's just a bit annoying with the eye closing business. like the other day I was trying to play the trumpet and the act of blowing into it closed my eye completely.

    I also wasn't too bothered in the very beginning cause i'm pretty upbeat about things. My friends called my Two-Face and I wore this eyepatch that had a skull and crossbones on it. (to cover the taped up eye)

    Again thanks for the replies and the stories.

    Chris
     

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