Paralysis of facial muscles is generally called Facial Palsy. It can be of a central or a peripheral origin.
Central facial palsy happens when certain structures of the brain get damaged by for example, a stroke. The main symptomatic difference between central facial palsy and the peripheral one is that in the former case the upper side of the face is almost not affected. The patient can close both eyes and can blink normally.
Peripheral facial palsy leads to a complete paralysis of (mostly) one side of the face. Depending on the causes, there are several kinds of diagnosis for facial palsy. The nature of damages to the nerve fibers and the prognosis for recovery is also different depending on the causes.
• Ramsay Hunt syndrome comes from herpes zoster virus
• Lyme disease derives from borellia type bacteria, which we get mostly from the tick bite
• Otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear)
• Tumors of various types, including acoustic neuroma
• Iatrogenic damages (damages incurred during surgical interventions in the area)
• Trauma (temporal bone fractures and other injuries involving temporal and zygomatic areas of the face)
• Bell’s Palsy. Often results from local over-cooling of face, head and neck area from cold weather, wind, airco, drafts (driving with both windows open). Additional risk factors are: stress, hypertension, last weeks of pregnancy. Some sources also name diabetes as a risk factor.
Essentially, Bell’s palsy is a diagnosis of exclusion. If none of the known causes can be confirmed, then the facial palsy is considered idiopathic, i.e. “from unclear or undetermined causes”. In other words, if the causes of your facial palsy cannot be determined and confirmed, the diagnosis will be “Bell’s palsy”.
In one of the following posts I will discuss in details what actually happens during Bell’s palsy, which damages to the facial nerve occur, and why in some cases we see a full spontaneous recovery, and in other cases the recovery is delayed and complications develop.
– Alex Pashov
Crystal Touch Bell’s palsy clinic