Bell's palsy is a disorder that arises suddenly, often within 72 hours, and hinders a person’s ability to control their facial muscles, resulting in paralysis of one or both sides of the face. Multiple other conditions can cause facial paralysis, such as brain tumors, strokes, certain viruses, and Lyme disease, however if a specific cause cannot be identified, the condition is characterized as Bell’s Palsy.
Exact causes may differ from person to person, yet trauma, injury, and/or compression of facial nerves are factors that ultimately result in paralysis. Often the nerves will heal on their own, reversing the condition in anywhere from a few days to six months, depending on the extent of temporary damage. Steroids, antivirals, and physiotherapy can sometimes help speed the process. Surgery may be an option in severe or persistent cases.