View Full Version : Bells Palsey anyone?

05-16-2009, 07:41 PM
So about mid day Thursday I started getting a head ache, not super bad, but annoying and it throbbed all over my head but mainly hurt behind my Right ear. Took tylenol with pretty good relief. Took more at bed time figured it hurt because I was tired.

So yesterday, Friday, the head ache was still presenting itself. Figured I was over tired what with work, DD being sick with her asthma and her coughing wakes me up at night, general stress, you know. So took more Tylenol...off to work. Headache came and went, the right side of my face started having facial tics/twitches. R eye, eyebrow, cheek, lip. I've had tics like this in smaller measure before because of stress. But this was most of the day and way worse. Sometimes parts of my face felt almost numb. Plus I was tired. Plus the head ache kept coming back. Sometimes my R ear would pressurize and feel plugged. Plus I had a very long and complicated work day. I got home at 6. laid down on the couch. DD helped me with dinner. DH was working till 7. My face kept twitching. I was tired, my head hurt, particularly behind my R ear. Right on that bony prominence on ones head. Ate. Brushed teeth. My lips felt weird while brushing.

So all day I'm thinking "I can't be having a stroke, I'm just really, really stressed and tired". But I'm scared I'm having a stroke so am trying to totally trying to ignore it. DH gets home about 7:30. I tell him how weird I feel. Then I go look in the mirror. I can't wink! I can't control the R side of my face very well. I can't blink. I'm twitching. DH insists on a trip to ER. I felt rather stupid about going but also scared.

So I have Bells Palsy.

What happens is that cranial nerve # VII, the facial nerve, exits the skull below the ear to innervate the face from the eye to the lip and the cheek. Sometimes the passage way gets inflammed and compresses the nerve or something. No one knows quite why. It could resolve on it's own. Or it could be caused by a virus possibly maybe, yes, maybe no. So just to cover all the bases I get to take prednisone and acyclovir.

I didn't have complete paralysis of the nerve last night...evidently I caught it early. The doc was hopeful starting on meds right away might reduce inflammation and progression of symptoms. However he also said it will get worse before it gets better.

Sure enough it has gotten worse today. I cannot even partially blink. My eye gets dry and I have wear glasses instead of contacts and use eye drops. I finally gave up and have my eye taped shut because it won't stay closed. Thus with one eye I have no depth perception. I can't even knit! I can struggle through it but it's no fun. I can't whistle, eating and drinking is awkward, yesterday the R side had a partial smile, today none. I can't seal my lips like to hold my breath. P's, B's, and V's are hard to say. I can't spit--like when I brush my teeth. I can't even clearly say the word "spit" because the s next to the p is tricky. I can still move my cheek a bit but the eye, eyebrow and lip, side of my nose are strongly affected.

Sigh. Has anyone else been through this and surivived? I've read it could clear in anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months! Or have residual symptoms for ever.... I just hope I can blink some day because the vision thing is a problem.:help:

05-16-2009, 07:44 PM
Please make sure to place a vitamin B12 (around 1000mcg) lozenge under your tongue every day! A deficiency can mimic the symptoms. Don't worry, you can stop taking them about 3 weeks after your symptoms reverse. The body can store a limited supply, but eventually, you need to "recharge." (retired naturopath here - forgive the intrusion if it is unwanted)


Jan in CA
05-16-2009, 08:06 PM
I'm sorry this is happening to you. I'm keeping my fingers crossed you recover quickly! :hug:

05-16-2009, 08:16 PM
Sorry to hear about this! It does sound like typical Bell's Palsy. A friend, who is a doc, had it and was pretty miserable, but it does usual go away completely in 6-8 weeks.

Hang in there! :hug:

05-16-2009, 08:32 PM
It's not all that uncommon around here, mainly because of Lyme's disease--a bacterial infection from a deer tic bite.

It has gone away in the people I know that have had it, some in a couple of weeks, some in a few months.

I agree with supplements; if there's a chance of Lymes have yourself checked since that needs antibiotics; and TRY to keep down the stress. :hug:

05-16-2009, 09:03 PM
I take a 1000mcg b12 lozenge with sl absorption every day anyway, have for ages. They help my PMS. Thanks for the thought though.

05-16-2009, 09:06 PM
Well I'll be following up with the doctor this week so I can ask. I don't think the incidence of lyme disease is all that high here in Oregon... but don't really know. Don't you have to be bitten by a tic? I generally avoid all activities involving the out doors and bugs anyway. LOL!

05-16-2009, 10:11 PM
Hope you feel better soon. Lyme disease is carried commonly by the deer tick but they are tiny and many people don't even know they have been bitten. We're at the center of it here in CT. Its named after a town about a half an hour from me. I've known people who have had Bell's palsy and its no fun but for the most part they have not had residual effects.

05-16-2009, 10:51 PM
I looked up the stats for Oregon lyme disease and the latest numbers said there were 27 cases in 2007. so pretty low probability here.

05-16-2009, 10:54 PM
Gosh, that sounds terrible. :pout: But I'm so glad your DH made you go to the ER. I sure hope it gets better sooner rather than take it's dear sweet time. Here's a :hug: for you.

05-17-2009, 11:56 AM
I haven't, but my nephew did when he was younger and he is only 2. Most everyone gets all their nerve sensations and everything back to the full extent, but my concern is this. . . my nephew got bells palsey as a result of Lyme's Disease. They ran test to be sure it wasn't something else causing it and sure enough, he did have Lyme's Disease. When the disease went away and the started meds for it, his face also got better. It is often stress, but have them run tests to be sure, esp. if you live in the area where there are deer and tics that spreas Lyme's Disease.

Jan in CA
05-17-2009, 12:58 PM
Do you get cold sores? According to this that is the most common cause.


05-17-2009, 02:57 PM
I had read this and the MD discussed it with me. I have not had cold sores in years... but you can "carry" the virus. So who knows?? I've read else where that Epstein barr virus and cytomeglo virus are also suspects.

05-17-2009, 10:44 PM
Have treated many a patient with Bells Palsy. Have even had friends get it during pregnancy and b/c of stress. Most times the symptoms will clear themselves. If you want you can ask the MD to send you to a PT or OT who is comfortable treating Bells Palsy. They can teach you exercises to do in the mirror at home and they can also start you on some DC electrical stim to certain muscles to help with return. There are even DC units that ins should rent or purchase for you to be able to use at home.
Best of Luck and very glad your hubby took you to the ER.

05-18-2009, 12:58 AM
Are you familiar with Nancy Zieman, of "Sewing with Nancy" on PBS? She's had Bell's Palsy for years, and has been quite successful in family and career.

My great aunt had it also, she was quite funny once she got over the shock of her perfect face "going twitchy on me." She took mega-doses of sublingual zinc (not recommended in mega-doses) and upped her Scotch intake when it got to her. She went to one of the first acupuncturists in Southern California, and he worked wonders for her. You might want to find one in Portland, if that's where you live. The man here in Salem doesn't seem to be too effective.

This site has some helpful information:


05-18-2009, 08:37 AM
My uncle had it in the past, but I don't think last time I saw him I even noticed it so he must have gotten better (my dad's family aren't that great at keeping in touch so I hardly ever see him).

05-18-2009, 09:07 AM
upped her Scotch intake when it got to her

There have been moments when something like that would seem to be the most helpful idea...

My issue is still my eye, I can't blink so it gets irritated so I'm either taping it up or helping it blink manually and putting drops in. So at the moment I can't do much because of that and find it very frustrating. I think I could almost bear the other symptoms for awhile -- just not the eye thing.
Eating is the 2nd hardest thing but for that I can just go slow...

05-18-2009, 12:52 PM
upped her Scotch intake when it got to her

She'd do that if I fell and skinned my knee! :rofl:

She was a corker, all my good family stories are about my Aunt Marie.

05-19-2009, 05:35 PM
I woke up one morning and thought I had had a stroke. Went to the doc. and he put me on a tapered dose of Prednisone. (which I don't care for, but it really helped) He had me wear an eye patch for a few days and within a week I was back to normal with no problems since. Hope that encourages you. Take care.:hug:

05-19-2009, 07:42 PM
I have seen Bell's Palsy three times: the first, in a 60-ish co-worker. He never seemed to fully recover. I don't work with him now, though. The second time was in a young girl just before celebrating her graduation from high school (pictures, anyone?), and the third time was a 35-ish co-worker in a different place. She seemed fine in a few weeks, at least what we could see looking at her.

I have heard that starting prednisone early really helps, but of course, people (and I am this way, too) think, "Let's just wait and see if this goes away. Maybe I'm fine after all." You hate to go to the ER for what seems minor.

Anyway, I hope you get better soon, and that you can work around it for a little while, anyway!

05-21-2009, 10:25 PM
I have a friend who had Bell's Palsy about 30 years ago. I don't know if he got treatment for it back then, but he made a complete recovery in a few months with no recurring problems.

06-26-2009, 01:24 PM
I'm bumping my own thread because I'm feeling sorry for myself.

Today I have had Bells Palsy for 6 weeks! I have had very little improvement. I have slightly better tone in my lips and mouth, B's and V's are easier to say. I can do some P words but it depends on what vowels follow. I still can't say SP words very well. For about a week now if I rub my lips/chin/ cheek I can induce a muscle spasm on the affected side that makes it appear that I'm snarling, but I cannot really control it other wise. If I try to make a very small smile I can make a very small portion of my cheek, right by my nose move but nothing else. My lip doesn't droop down quite so much but it won't turn up in a smile either. Worst of all I still can not blink. I keep my eye taped shut 90% of the time because it is just more comfortable that way.

I can now knit with one eye, but undoing a mistake is not a one eyed job!

I've been taking time off work and am extremely bored. I don't drive unless I really need to because I un-tape my eye to drive, if I get out of the car on a windy day it's really uncomfortable. I can't constantly tape and un-tape my eye because it's hard on the skin.

I've taken the traditionally prescribed meds. I've been getting acupuncture, and yesterday had my first session of cranial sacral therapy. I am taking loads of vitamins, I practice realxation techniques, I take walks. I suppose the small bits of improvement are a good sign but it is way too slow and frustrating.

The whole thing is depressing.

06-26-2009, 02:20 PM
oh, dear one! I don't even know what to say to you right now. :grphug:

One of my best girlfriends was diagnosed this week with Bell's Palsey. My heart aches for her as well.

Some think it could be a virus in the nerve. We started her on the strongest all-natural anti-viral I know of (which happens to be "Wellness Formula" by Source Naturals). It seems to be helping her. Maybe you can try it too, along with your accupuncture and cranial sacral therapy.

06-26-2009, 04:03 PM
I'm so sorry. I hope you feel better soon. It must be very hard for you to go out.:hug:

06-28-2009, 12:04 PM
Has your doctor ran a test to determine if it could be Lyme's Disease or not? When my nephew had it due to the Lyme's Disease, he was on antibiotics every day for months. It takes such a heavy constant dose of antibiotics, they had to put a shint in him. I am just thinking this since it hasn't gone away yet.

Of course, if it were Lyme's Disease your joints would probably be achey.

Gosh, I hope it goes away soon.

My cousin just came down with it and she is already getting sensation back. She had it for about a week before she started feeling better.

That is just awful that you have had to deal with it for so long.

06-28-2009, 06:51 PM
I do not believe I have Lyme disease. It is not common here in Oregon. I looked it up and in 2007 there were only 50 some cases in the state. I do not have any of the other symptoms of Lyme Disease.

Bells Palsy varies from person to person. For example your cousin is getting sensation back, but I never lost sensation, which is good. As near as I can tell people get better somewhere between 2 weeks and 6 months.

I really just wish I could blink my eye. All the other symptoms I can deal with.

Thanks for your thoughts.