Bell’s palsy comes about when the nerves responsible for the facial muscles become compressed or inflamed. There are no clear explanations as to what makes the facial nerve inflamed. Some medical experts believe that the nerve inflammation is caused by a virus, specifically a herpes virus although research on this is not sufficient enough to verify this claim.
The facial nerve
The nerves of your face travels through a tiny gap of bone near the upper jaw while journeying from the brain to the face. A swelling or compression of the facial nerve can weaken and disrupt the signals that your brain transmits to your facial muscles.
This disruption can curtail the supply of oxygen and blood to the nerve cells and can lead to facial paralysis or weakness that is the main symptom and trait of Bell’s palsy.
There are two forms of herpes virus that are believed to generate inflammation of the nerves of the face. These two forms are:
The varicella-zoster virus – This virus is responsible for shingles and chickenpox. The varicella-zoster virus is not as common as the herpes simplex virus in causing Bell’s palsy, although the former can bring about a worse condition named Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
The HSV or herpes simplex virus – There are two types of herpes virus: the herpes type 1 or HSV-1 virus which is responsible for cold sores and the HSV-2 or herpes type 2 virus which leads to genital herpes.
Bell’s palsy is also associated with infection from other viruses not only the herpes virus.
Pneumonia can also be a factor for Bell’s palsy although in a lesser degree compared to the other aforementioned factors.
Brent Keime, LAc, MSTOM
4410 Lamont Street
San Diego, CA 92109