Bell's Palsy 5 years on

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So as some of you may know I suffered bell's palsy in January of 2013. Nearly 6 years later I am going to relay my personal long lasting effects of having the horrible paralysis.

My face works! I can talk, smile, eat with my mouth closed and blink with both eyes. So my face is all good. However, I still have damaged nerves. My left eye twitches (noticeably) when it's cold or even mild. My upper lip moves and pulsates when I've been eating or chewing gum or anything that involved chewing or moving the mouth for an extended period of time. When I get stressed I can hear a nerve in my left ear pulsing right near my ear drum. Obviously I thought it might be something else so I got it looked at. Yeah it's a nerve. To top it all off I get random numb patches come and go on different parts of my face. Localised to the left side in most cases.

So bell's palsy has successfully managed to destroy my facial nerve on the left and leave me with life long twitches. But will it return? Well it's been 5 years nearly 6 so here's hoping not. I have done extensive studying on this condition so if you would like to know anything just ask away.

Let me know you long lasting effects if you have any.

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  • Posted

    Wow...I've had nearly the same long lasting effects. I first got Bell's palsy on the right side in 2010 (lasted about 3 weeks) then had constant eye twitches for years. Last year I got BP again but on the left side. I recovered after about 6 weeks. I again had constant twitching but on both sides. At times they were so strong and noticeable. They felt like muscle spasms. Lately it's been a constant flutter under my eye.

    When I chew for long periods my lips shake similar to after an intense workout. I also feel numbness at times...normally under my eye/on my cheeks or right around my brow bone.

    I've always had inner ear issues so I did not attribute ear pain to the BP.

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    • Posted

      I only get pain rarely, I never had any pain during the time with paralysis but I do get the occasional ache or hot tingle behind my ear or on the left temple. I was in med school when I got palsy so I had a good idea it wasn't a stoke. But yeah the constant twitching, numb patches and the ear drum vibration can become quite annoying after a few months.

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  • Posted

    I was hit with Bells in Feb 2017. While at lunch I noticed my lower lip going numb while taking a drink. I returned to work as a 9-1-1 operator, handed my partner (an EMT) her tea and she says "turn around and look at me". I did and she said hold out your arms.. She then proceeded to dispatch an ambulance for a possible stroke. I'm like, I'm fine.. she says no your not. EMS arrived and my blood pressure was elevated 230/118. Transported to a stroke center where a CT scan and blood work ruled out CVA. Bells Palsy was the diagnosis. Used a straw for over a year to drink, Showering was difficult since I had to physically hold my left eye closed with one hand. Night driving was interesting because I couldn't "squint" at oncoming headlights. Had to cover my eye with one hand. Now in November 2018 , 21 months after onset, I have problems keeping my left eye open. Left side of mouth is lazy, but I don't need a straw. When shaving, I occasionally have a "face cramp" from my left temple to my lower jaw. Overall I cant complain. everything else still works. I retired from 9-1-1 in Aug 18 after 39 years. Still very active as a volunteer firefighter for over 26 years. Physically active and stay fit by weightlifting. My goal is a 300 lb bench press in December 18 on my 60th birthday. Live Fit and stay active are the way I try to live. My wife and 3 kids have been very supportive throughout. image

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    • Posted

      Don't get too ripped or you might find clothes no longer fit haha. I'm glad you're keeping active and I wish you the best for your goals!

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  • Posted

    I got Bells Palsy March 2014, will be 5 years coming up. I can blink, my mouth pulls to the opposite side when I smile and I still have trouble eating. Liquids leak out of the palsy side. I don't notice any twitching, thank goodness. If I don't talk or don't move I look normal. I have to cover my mouth if I have a good hardy laugh because the palsy side doesn't smile. Very distressing.

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    • Posted

      It sounds like the damage was a bit more severe in your case. The way I see it is, if you can continue to go through life happy without stopping to care about what the condition did or has caused, you have beaten it!

      Keep your head up and don't be ashamed to have a crooked smile, you know your smiling and I'm sure your friends and family know it too.

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    • Posted

      I'm not going through life happy, though. I am constantly aware of it. My eye waters constantly too, I forgot about that. A recent writer mentioned he got botox in his eye for that. I had eye lid lower surgery because the eye Dr. said my lower lid was pulling to the side. That didn't fix the problem, maybe helped just a little. I can't believe the overwhelming response I have received since I started this forum. Lots of good advice here. I may look into the botox.

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I am a victim to Bell's and it will be a year Dec 17, 2018.

    It took 28 days for me to regain control of my facial nerves but I too can feel permanent effects my facial nerves on the left side hurt and ache from time to time. when I smile I can still feel tightness.

    I hope it continued to get better but fear the damage is done.

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    • Posted

      The first year is the hardest. Nerves heal at the same rate your fingernails grow, about a millimetre a day. It can take up to 6 months for full release of pressure on the nerve, and healing won't start properly until the nerve is no longer compressed. Once it's healing you'll get movement back. Think of the nerves like wiring, thousands of connections in the space the size of a penny. Not every reconnection will be perfect, so you might get a few side effects. The body is amazing, even after a year your brain is still configuring the connection in the facial nerve to correct or compensate for any corruptions. It sounds like I'm an IT tech haha. I wish you the best.

      Mark

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  • Posted

    I thought maybe you would be interested in my journey since it has been 13 years since I had my BP attack. My palsy took a good 6 months before I could say that I had had good improvement, even then I still had a few residuals. One of these was a very watering eye which doesn't sound much but was really quite distressing as I seemed to be mopping it all day long and especially with eating anything. This eye-watering went on for five years by which time I thought I would go and see an eye consultant to see if there was anything that could be fixed . He did a lot of different tests to make sure there was nothing wrong with the tear ducts and then said that he could stop the watering by botoxing my eye in a certain place. I agreed to have it done and continued seeing him every four months for up to a period of two years. This worked brilliantly and I began to feel a bit more normal again. At about the two year point I started to notice that my eye had stopped watering altogether by itself and has continued to be good ever since which must be a few years now. My consultant was so pleased too and said that he hadn't expected my eye do that and that it would not have been the botox that cured it but somehow it had righted itself. I do still have a slightly wonky smile and my eyebrow will drop especially when tired - I also have a bit of a droopy eyelid on that side. I also get cramp occasionally too but not nearly as many cramps now as I used to get. I used to long for some sort of topical cream you could put on the cheek area to prevent this happening but could not find anything on the market.

    The BP affected me emotionally terribly . My whole personality seemed to change as I did not want to go out anywhere for the first few months and even for a couple of years I would dread going out anywhere in case anyone noticed anything different about me. I was so conscious of it the whole time.

    Fast forward to today and I can say I have noticed many improvements - small little increments - over the many years so never fret that if you have seen no improvement after a couple of years or before that that will be you for life because I am living proof that things carry on improving.

    My face isn't 100 per cent as it was before the BP but it is very very near to that and I am back to my old self confidence-wise.

    I hope this may give hope to any others out there.

    Thanks doctorMark for asking this question as it did prompt me to write the above.

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    • Posted

      My Bells Palsy hit me nearly 5 years ago. I have had 4 eye lid surgeries. One of those surgeries for my watering eye. Eye Dr. said my lower lid was off center. Had that, still watering. I may try the botox you talked about. Thank you.

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    • Posted

      Good luck Sharon - I hope it works for you too. It will take a couple of appointments before you reach the dose that will work for you. My eye doctor started off on a small dose and gradually increasing until we reached the dose that really controlled it. I don't know if you are in the UK but I also got it done on the NHS as the doctor said it had been caused by an illness and therefore not cosmetic.

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