76ers Joel Embiid has Bell’s palsy, here’s what it is

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You could say that Joel Embiid, the star center for the Philadelphia 76ers, answered the “bell” on Thursday night. He dropped 50 points on the New York Knicks that night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff game. That helped give the Sixers a much-needed first win of the series after the Knicks captured the first two games. But also during the post-game press conference, Embiid answered questions about why the left side of him seemed to droop and his left eye didn’t seem to blink during the game. Embiid said it was due to Bell’s palsy, which he had been diagnosed with a week earlier.

He revealed that his symptoms actually started a day or two prior to an April 17 NBA playoff play-in game against the Miami Heat. But perhaps to avoid getting excited about what he was experiencing, Embiid had been wearing sunglasses and keeping his head down during interviews for the entire week leading up to his Thursday night reveal. The reigning NBA MVP was also dealing with severe migraine headaches around the time his Bell’s palsy symptoms appeared.

Bell’s palsy occurs when something is wrong with your facial nerve, also known as your seventh cranial nerve. Each of the two facial nerves you have helps you move and maintain different muscles in your face on that side. The word ‘paralysis’ is a fancy medical term for paralysis or paresis. ‘Paresis’ is a fancy medical term for partial paralysis. Other names for Bell’s palsy include facial palsy, idiopathic peripheral facial palsy, and cranial mononeuropathy, because in medicine everything has to have multiple names, right?

When one of your cranial nerves malfunctions for some reason, it can cause the muscles on that side of your face to malfunction. So you may notice that one side of your face is drooping. It may feel stiff, pulled to the side, or jittery. It may be difficult to close your eyes on that side, smile, or make different facial expressions. You may drool or drop food from your mouth while eating because you cannot keep your mouth controlled and closed. Your eye on that side and mouth may become dry. You may lose your sense of taste or hear things louder through one ear. The weakness may be accompanied by pain and other forms of discomfort. The symptoms can range from mild to quite severe symptoms.

Symptoms usually develop quite suddenly. You may be enjoying your hot dog one minute and then have chunks of hot dog falling out of one side of your mouth the next. However, there are cases where symptoms develop more gradually over the course of two to three days. Discomfort behind your ear can also precede facial weakness. Although Bell’s palsy usually affects only one side of the face, occasionally both sides are involved.

While no one would say “yay” if you develop Bell’s palsy, the good news is that most cases resolve completely within a few weeks to months without the need for any treatment. There are occasional situations where symptoms – such as weakness or spasms in the facial muscles or changes in taste – may persist.

Additionally, having dry eye can lead to other complications, such as ulcers and infections. Your doctor may recommend eye drops or ointments and wear an eye patch while you sleep, not because he or she wants you to look like a pirate, but to keep your eye moist and lubricated.

When symptoms are severe, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids in an attempt to reduce swelling around your facial nerve. Occasionally, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication such as valaciclovir.

Why an antiviral? Well, the belief is that Bell’s palsy stems from swelling or inflammation of your facial nerve. This inflammation can be the result of an infection with a virus such as herpes simplex or herpes zoster one or HIV. Other possible causes include Lyme disease or other types of middle ear or respiratory infections. Sarcoidosis could be a culprit. Those who have diabetes or are pregnant appear to have a higher risk of developing Bell’s palsy.

But at this point, no one knows for sure why Bell’s palsy occurs. Once you have Bell’s palsy, it’s not likely to reoccur, which should be good news, assuming having Bell’s palsy isn’t your idea of ​​fun. The good news for Sixers and Sixers fans is that Bell’s palsy did not appear to impact Embiid’s play on April 25. Scoring 50 points in an NBA playoff game isn’t that bad. In the 41 minutes he played, Embiid made 13 of his 19 shot attempts, grabbed eight rebounds, provided four assists and blocked one shot. Yes, Embiid certainly stepped up and answered the bell when the Sixers needed him.

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