Facial or Bell's Palsy
Facial palsy is a weakness to the muscles of the face that results from damage to the facial nerve. This damage may be either temporary or permanent and prevents the normal messages from travelling down the nerve to the muscles to make them move. This can give problems with closing the eye, moving the mouth and with other expressions.
In some children the whole of the one side of the face is affected or just the lower half. In some cases both sides of the face may be affected.
Functional problems such as eating and drinking and speech difficulties can also occur. The effects of a facial weakness go beyond the physical symptoms with the emotional and psychological factors being very important. Whilst a young child may not have an awareness of their differences, this is very different for an older child or young adult.
Bell's palsy is one type of facial palsy and accounts for 60% of all cases. Bell's palsy occurs following inflammation of the inner ear that results in pressure on the facial nerve. This prevents the messages from travelling down the nerve leading to facial paralysis affecting the one side of the face.
Most children and young adults with Bell's palsy make a full recovery with the paralysis slowly disappearing over a period of weeks or months.
Physiotherapy can be useful for children or young adults with a facial palsy to provide educational and an exercise programme that may include relaxation, massage, stretches and exercises.
Please contact us for specific further details of assessment and treatments.