Patient: A couple of months ago my 15 year old daughter had Bells Palsy. This cleared up after steroids but yesterday hef face felt a bit numb on the left side and then started to hurt. The numbness has gone but it the side of her face is still painful. Is this likely to be Bells Palsy again ?
Doctor: Bell’s palsy is a disorder that causes damage to the facial nerve (cranial nerve VII) resulting in inability to control the muscles of the face. Though the cause of Bell’s palsy is not known, it is thought that a viral infection, autoimmune disease or decrease in the blood supply to the nerve may result in the condition.The disease presents with difficulty in the movemnet of the muscles of one side of the face resulting in difficulty in smiling, eating food, closing eyes. Usually no treatment is required for Bell’s palsy and the symptoms improve on their own. However in a few severe cases, steroids are given to relieve the symptoms. Though the symptoms resolve in 2-3 weeks, sometimes it takes 6 months or more to regain full muscle strength. Symptoms like muscle twitching, facial weakness and numbness may present even after the palsy has cleared.