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What is Facial Paralysis?

Facial paralysis is an inability to move the muscles in the face. It often affects only one side, and it can happen quite suddenly. If you have facial paralysis, your face may feel frozen or numb.

Facial paralysis can happen when there is inflammation or damage to either the part of the brain that controls the facial muscles or the nerve that carries signals from the brain to the face. Some common causes include:
  • Stroke, which can affect the part of the brain controlling the face and prevent those muscles from working
  • Bell’s palsy, an inflammation of the main facial nerve
  • Lyme disease
  • Birth trauma or difficult birth, which can cause facial paralysis in babies (usually temporary)
  • Head trauma in which nerves are damaged

Facial paralysis is a frustrating and frightening experience, but many cases are temporary and go away on their own. Even with more difficult cases, there are treatment options available, including rehabilitation, pain management, and surgery.