Bell's Palsy

UPDATE 8-20-16:
I've passed the 2 year mark of my last bout of Bell's Palsy.  As you can see by my newest photo, I am doing just fine.  I have my smile back and I can once again whistle [sometimes it's more difficult to do than other times] - something I could no longer do after my 1st bout of Bell's Palsy in May 2012.  I do have some nerve damage and while I can feel it, most times even I can't see it!!  I think that my healing was miraculous.  God truly blessed me through all of the stuggles.  Below is info and photos.

 My original bout of Bell's Palsy began on Memorial Day in 2012...May 28, 2012.

Here is the information I've found about Bell's Palsy.  Bell's palsy causes sudden weakness in your facial muscles. This makes half of your face appear to droop. Your smile is one-sided, and your eye on that side resists closing.  Bell's palsy, also known as facial palsy, can occur at any age.  The exact cause is unknown, but it's believed to be the result of swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of your face. It may be a reaction
that occurs after a viral infection. For most people, Bell's palsy is temporary. Symptoms usually start to improve within a few weeks, with complete recovery in about six months. A small number of people continue to have some Bell's palsy symptoms for life. Rarely, Bell's palsy can and often does, recur.

How do I know?  On Memorial Day morning May 28, 2012 ...after a quick trip to the ER...I found I have Bell's Palsy.  In other words, the right side of my face is partially paralyzed.  My eye droops and doesn't blink or close without alot of work...and I only have half a smile.  I have a headache, eye twitching, sore jaw, sore ear and noises like the dogs barking hurt my right ear immensely.  My eye is getting sore, irritated by the loss of being able to blink, so I dropped some gel eyedrops in it and will soon be covering it with gauze and an eyepatch.

Here are 3 photos of how I look on this, the First Day of Bell's Palsy.  Excuse the lack of make-up, I just didn't feel like doing that.  My hair is really alot darker that how it appears here - because I'm standing under our bathroom skylight filled with sun, looking into the mirror!!  I took these photos of myself IN A MIRROR - so what you see is a reflection - the right side of my face as you're looking at the what would normally be my left side.  (remember - reflection)  The first is with a straight face.  You may notice a slight droop and very heavy eyelid on my right eye (which is the eye on the RIGHT of the photo - not the left).  The next photo is of my very crooked smile.  The third is me trying to blink my right can see it is still open.  And in that picture there is a lump under the outside corner of my eye...don't know when I got that, didn't have it yesterday and I don't know if it was there earlier this morning or not.

My DIAGNOSIS with Bell's Palsy
May 28, 2013
(I added a photo taken of me a few weeks ago, before I was hit with Bell's Palsy - complete with make-up.  LOL!) I'm just NOT feeling very good right now.  I've been hurting with this dermatitis stuff and all the junk during our vacation (it started the 2nd day of vacation and lasted until just about 5 days ago)...and now this.  Needless to say, I'm not a happy camper.  I hate to use the word depressed...because I just don't know if I know what that truly feels like...and I have a high tolerance for pain and let's just say I am very unhappy right now and maybe even feeling a bit sorry for myself, too.

I quickly learned about the Grading System Map {below} and the Facial Muscle Map {below}


The Physician in the ER that I went to when I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy, graded me according to this scale. He told me I had a severe case and that  I would more than likely proceed to the final category within 48 hours - total paralysis...which I did. He also said that by refusing to take the Steroids and Anti-Viral meds that I would probably not recover completely.  I remember saying out of one corner of my non-working mouth - WATCH ME!!!

House-Brackmann Facial Nerve Grading System

-Grade I - Normal Normal facial function in all areas

 -Grade II - Slight Dysfunction Gross: slight weakness noticeable on close inspection; may have very slight synkinesis At rest: normal symmetry and tone Motion: forehead - moderate to good function; eye - complete closure with minimum effort; mouth - slight asymmetry.

-Grade III - Moderate Dysfunction Gross: obvious but not disfiguring difference between two sides; noticeable but not severe synkinesis, contracture, and/or hemi-facial spasm. At rest: normal symmetry and tone Motion: forehead - slight to moderate movement; eye - complete closure with effort; mouth - slightly weak with maximum effort.
 -Grade IV - Moderate Severe Dysfunction Gross: obvious weakness and/or disfiguring asymmetry At rest: normal symmetry and tone Motion: forehead - none; eye - incomplete closure; mouth - asymmetric with maximum effort.

 -Grade V - Severe Dysfunction Gross: only barely perceptible motion At rest: asymmetry Motion: forehead - none; eye - incomplete closure; mouth - slight movement

 Grade VI - Total Paralysis No movement 

 House, J.W., Brackmann, D.E. Facial nerve grading system. Otolaryngol. Head Neck Surg, [93] 146–147. 1985.



Here is a copy of the Facial Muscles Map I found, with all the information you'll need to test each muscle to see if yours are working.  The arrows point in the direction of the muscle pull, just...match the 3-letter abbreviation from the diagram to the chart below to see the name of the muscle and action it performs.  

COR - Corrugators - Pulls eyebrows together & medially
DAO - Depressor anguli oris - Pulls corners of mouth to frown 
DIN -  Dilator naris - Flares nostrils
DLI  -  Depressor labii inferioris - Draws lower lip downward and laterally
FRO – Frontalis - Raises eyebrows
LAO – Levator anguli oris - Elevates the angle of the mouth
LLA  -  Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi - Raises upper lip, dilates nostril
LLS   - Levator labii superioris - Raises upper lip
MEN-Mentalis - Closes and protrudes the lips
OOI  - Orbicularis oris inferioris - Closes and protrudes the lips
OOS – Orbicularis oris superioris - Closes and protrudes the lips
OCI   - Orbicularis oculi inferioris - Closes the eye
OCS  - Orbicularis oculi superioris - Closes the eye
PLA   - Platysma - Draws corners of the mouth down, wrinkles neck
PRO  - Procerus - Depresses medial corners of eyebrows, wrinkles forehead
RIS   - Risorius - Draws corner of mouth outward as in smiling
ZYJ  - Zygomaticus major - Raises, draws corner of the mouth laterally(smile)
ZYN  - Zygomaticus minor - Raises, everts upper lip
*Major nerve branches: Temporal (T) Zygomaticus (Z) Buccal (B) Mandibular (M)

*Not shown: Buccinator - assists with chewing, blowing and whistling, and mouth closure. Stapedius
dampens sound levels.


June 20, 2012

My vision in the BP-affected eye (right) isn't great - is sometimes blurry.  The pain in the entire paralyzed side of my face is a killer!  It's deep nerve pain, worse than any toothache pain I've ever had.  It radiates from behind my right ear, down to my jaw and neck and all the way up the right side of my face to my forehead.  I still am unable to smile, blink or drink from a glass...or drink without a straw.  I have been very tired...napping frequently throughout the day.  Some of the symptoms got worse after the initial onset of the BP, others didn't.

I've hesitated in writing an update on my Journey with Bell's Palsy (BP), because changes have been few.  I'm now in my 4th week with BP and while there have been some things that have changed, most things have not.  Many of you know, if you've been keeping up with my Journey, that I chose to go the Holistic Healing route, rather than steroids, anti-viral meds and pain pills.  Let me share this with you - it's all about Holistic Healing.

In the Diagram, the yellow squiggly lines are the 7th Cranial Nerve, which as you can see, covers the entire side of your face and goes into the back of your head...and it comes out, both forward and backward from around the ear.  The redder, lined areas and muscles and all of those are controlled by the 7th Cranial Nerve.  When you have Bell's Palsy, that Nerve has been injured in some way.  That's why the right side of my face is paralyzed.  

For treatments, I am using:
*Lymphatic Drainage
*Reiki & Gemstone Healing
*Drinking LOTS of water!
*Intuit & Healing Massage
*Essential Oil Treatment and Massage 
(the only thing that helps with control of the pain)
*Vitamin B12 pills
*No Steroids
*No Anti-Viral Meds

The things that are bothering me currently are:
*blurred vision in the affected eye
*still can't eat very well
*still can't close my eye
*Parotid Glands are both swollen 
*head, face, ear pain
*neck pain
*heavy watering of the BP eye
*right eye doesn't blink naturally
*almost no movement at all on the right side of my face
*I have no smile
*trouble eating and talking due to mouth that doesn't move out of the way!
*headache, dizziness nausea - sometimes
*nerve pain on the right side of my face and ear
*pain on that same side that feels like I should be sporting huge bruises
*can only sleep on my left side, since the right side of my face hurts (and I'm a right-side sleeper!)
*salty and/or metallic taste in my mouth
*can't spit toothpaste out of my mouth
*can't drink from a glass or can without dribbling
*stuffy, ringing ears
*sounds are EXTRA LOUD in my right ear
*little to no energy to do anything
*tired and napping alot during the day

Along with the Treatments, I have been doing several other things, as well:

*Using Essential Oils for Massage, Pain and for help in Healing Nerve Tissue (7th Cranial Nerve is affected in BP)

*Having Friends & Family Praying for me

*Having 3 pups that give me Unconditional Love and Attention all day long!!

*Drinking Water - Lots of  it every Day

*Taking Care of Myself Every Day - getting alot more sleep (taking naps), eating well

*Using Blink Gel Eyedrops & blinking often throughout the day - since my eye doesn't blink by itself, I have to use my clean hand to close the eye and massage the eyedrops in.

*And I strive to Stay Positive!  


February 10, 2013

This is, the Best Article I've read about Bell's Palsy! 

What Is Bell's Palsy?  What Causes Bell's Palsy? 

 What are the symptoms of Bell's palsy? 

 The facial nerves control blinking, opening and closing of the eyes, smiling, salivation, lacrimation (production of tears), and frowning. They also supply the stapes muscles with nerves. The stapes is a bone in the ear which is involved in our ability to hear. When the facial muscle malfunctions, the following symptoms may emerge - symptoms of Bell's palsy:

 Sudden paralysis/weakness in one side of the face.
 It may be difficult or impossible to close one of the eyelids.
 Irritation in the eye because it does not blink and becomes too dry.
Changes in the amount of tears the eye produces.
 Parts of the face may droop, such as one side of the mouth.
 Drooling from one side of the mouth.
The amount of saliva produced changes.
 Difficulty with facial expressions.
 Sense of taste may become altered.
 An affected ear may lead to sensitivity to sound (hyperacusis).
Sounds seem louder.
 Pain in front or behind the ear on the affected side.

What causes Bell's palsy? 

 The facial nerve controls most of the muscles in the face and parts of the ear. The facial nerve goes through a narrow gap of bone from the brain to the face. This nerve becomes inflamed. We are not completely certain what the cause of Bell's palsy is. However, experts believe it is most likely caused by a virus, usually the herpes virus, which inflames the nerve. The herpes virus is the one that also causes cold sores and genital herpes. Other viruses have also been linked to Bell's palsy, including the chickenpox and shingles viruses, which are both related to the herpes virus. The virus that causes mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr) as well as the cytomegalovirus have also been linked to Bell's palsy. Lyme disease in areas where it is endemic may be a principal cause of Bell's palsy type symptoms caused by bacteria.

 If the nerve is inflamed it will press against the cheekbone or may pinch in the tight corridor (narrow gap of bone) - this can result in damage to the protective covering of the nerve. If the protective covering of the nerve becomes damaged, the signals which are being sent from the brain to the muscles in the face may not be transmitted properly, leading to weakened or paralyzed facial muscles - Bell's palsy. 


May 19, 2013

Most of you know that I got BP on Memorial Day (5-28-12) and a severe case of it, too.   I have had one question rolling around in my head since this all began. With gravity pulling the corners of our eyes and mouth down and all the wrinkles out of the affected side of our face AND no muscles working...HOW does the eye on the BP side stay open? Wouldn't you think it would just stay closed. Instead it stays open and we have to tape it shut at night until we can keep it closed...and then it doesn't blink!!   Hmmmmmm, is all I could say. And I'm one of those people who likes to know HOW things work.  So, I kept looking.   Yesterday, in a search, I found the answer!! 

Click to Enlarge
    The third cranial nerve is the oculomotor nerve.  The cranial nerves emerge from or enter the skull (the cranium), as opposed to the spinal nerves which emerge from the vertebral column. There are twelve cranial nerves.  The oculomotor nerve is responsible for the nerve supply to muscles about the eye (and supplies motion to) the upper eyelid muscle, which raises the eyelid and does a few other things, too.  (from - Medicine.Net

What this means is - we have an open eye because of the 3rd Cranial Nerve, while we have BP!  Thank goodness, the 3rd Cranial Nerve is NOT affected by Bell's Palsy!  :)  
I don't know about you - but I'm glad that the 3rd Cranial nerve supplies the upper eyelid muscle with the motion to open and is NOT affected by Bell's Palsy.  I don't like all that comes along with Bell's Palsy (affected by the 7th Cranial Nerve) AND certainly wouldn't want a totally CLOSED Upper Eyelid!!  Yeah, 3rd Cranial Nerve!!!

August 24, 2014


Earlier today, I posted the following as an answer to someone's question on the Bell's Palsy Support Group page on Facebook. Everyone with BP, knows someone with BP or might some day know someone with BP  needs to know...Most doctors don't know much about Bell's Palsy. They really aren't certain what causes it. They don't know or understand all the symptoms that one person can get. They don't know really how long it can last, or how quickly one can recover from it. Basically, BP is as much a mystery to them, as is a person getting it for the first time.  Doctors do know how to dispense the steroids and anti-viral pills, which Mayo clinic says patients don't really need to get better, because most do with or without the pills. Doctors know how to scare pts too, with things like "If you're not better in a couple 2-3 weeks, don't plan on recovering" or "right now you're a 6 on the BP scale with total paralysis, you're over 60 (I was 62), you can't take the pills...You will NOT recover at all" or "Let's see, there's a CT, an MRI, you need to see a neurologist" or "Start trying to excercise those muscles...go to PT".

The ER doctor I saw in May 2012, with my 1st BP bout, looked at me, had me stand, close my eyes, put my arms out in front of me, parallel to the floor and stay standing for about a minute. He then said, you haven't had a stroke. I KNEW THAT - and I'd already told him that & that I'd already done that "test"! I had told him too, that I knew it was Bell's Palsy, but my husband wanted me to be seen. So, he said - "You have Bell's Palsy". He then mentioned the prescription meds, the fact that I was a 6 on their BP scale with full paralysis of the right side of my face, head and neck...and that I was over 60. I told him I wasn't going to take the meds, because of a previous reaction to steroids that had landed me in the hospital. 

That's when he got up off his stool, walked towards the doorway, turned and looked at me and repeated "right now you're a 6 on the BP scale with total paralysis, you're over 60, you can't take the pills...You will NOT recover at all"! I jumped off the table, walked over to him, got into his personal space and said WATCH ME! After waiting 84 days for the first tiny movement...I DID RECOVER! I recovered to the point that others couldn't tell I'd had it - even those who saw me early on in my BP journey. I wish I'd had his name - because I would have gone back to that ER and told him to LOOK AT ME NOW.

My spunk, prayers and God is what's getting me through this bout (double-sided, bi-lateral) of BP which started on August 17, 2014. It was devastating to get again...but I'm doing okay. I'm once again a 6 on the left side and about a 3 on the right. I'm doing the things that got me better the first time...the things that felt good to me. I'm not taking drugs - not the ones for BP or anything else. I use healthy methods that don't have any side affects and don't cost me a ton of money. Right now, the worst thing is the PAIN! But, I have Young Living Essential Oils for that and they're working. And they can be used AS NEEDED.

AND GUESS WHAT? I'm also OLDER! I'm going to be 65 in October! HUH! Like age really has any basis on whether you recover from BP or NOT - crazy ER doctor!

So, as I've said before don't believe everything a doctor tells you about BP or about your healing schedule. That's why I post here about keep you informed. That's why I do my videos, too.

I am praying we all experience total healing from BP...and soon!!


September 24, 2014


August 17, 2014, I woke up and felt that all too familiar paralysis begin creeping across my face...affecting my speech, blinking, eating, chewing, hearing...well everything!  While some of it was exactly as the last attack of Bell's Palsy I got in 2012, some of it was very different.  This time I had Bi-lateral Bell's Palsy - both sides of my face were paralyzed.  One of the worst things is all the watering of my eyes...both eyes.  This is something that happens when you have BP (Bell's Palsy).  With inflammation and collapsed nostrils the tears just don't drain like they're supposed to.

This is what's supposed to happen with the tears...When the eye blinks, the lid pushes the tears across the eye into the drains (puncta) at the inner corner. The drains empty into channels (canaliculi) that connect the eye with the nose. The channels drain into a tear sac (lacrimal sac) that lies beside the nose. The sac narrows into the tear duct (lacrimal duct), which drains through the nasal bone into the nostril.  My left eye doesn't blink yet...but it closes.  The right eye blinks and closes...but I have 2 collapsed nostrils and lots of sinus stuff going on and I'm sure inflammation.  So, I usually look like I'm crying.

Not always and not when most BP sufferers see tears.  Just let me say it's as thought someone turns a faucet on.  It makes my vision just horrible.  It's blurry all the time...either one eye or both!

But...other than that, and all the normal BP things, I'm doing OK.   I am experiencing some movement already on BOTH sides of my face, which is a good thing and a huge surprise to me, since it's only been a bit over a month since I got this again.  Last time, I didn't have movement until I got the tiniest twinge of movement on Day #100.  So, PTL!!

Jan Tanis
Jan Tanis

I'm Jan and I'm happy you stopped in. Please, leave a comment and follow along..

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