Hemifacial spasm is contraction of muscles of one side of face. It is an involuntary contraction and twitching, meaning it is not under control of a person. It occurs in middle age and more often in women. Spasm begins in one side of eye and gradually it spreads in mouth and lip puling it in upward direction.
Though hemifacial spasm is not serious, it may be discomforting and affect the self esteem of a person. Conventional treatment consists of medications and Botox injection. Use of home remedies has proved effective in treating hemifacial spasms.Surgery is the last option when all curative measures exhaust.
What Causes Hemifacial Spasm?
The exact etiology of hemifacial spasm is uncertain but researchers emphasize it to be due to compression of facial nerve. Facial nerve is one of the twelve cranial nerves. There is one pair of facial nerve, each innervating on one side of face. Facial nerve has to pass through several structures in the cranium before it innervates into the facial muscles.
Facial nerve carries to and fro messages from brain to the muscles of face. The person can blink his eyes, move his mouth or tout his lip due to facial nerve.Pressure on facial nerve both from intracranial tumor, aneurism of blood vessels or any other abnormality can irritate the facial nerve and lead to involuntary twitching and spam of facial muscles.
Hemifacial Spasm Symptoms
In most cases facial twitching begins at the corner of eyes and they are involuntary. It then progresses gradually to other muscles of the face. Spasms usually begin on the left side of the face. The muscles of face contract and the angle of one side of mouth is pulled upward. In few cases the spasm can pull the corner of mouth upwards permanently. Spasms are unilateral meaning only one side of the face is involved.
- In few cases the spasms begin near the chin and progresses upwards to the eyes.
- It is always painless spasm.
- Even though hemifacial spasm is not a serious condition, it may interfere with normal vision due to twitching and spasm of the affected eye.
- Spasm becomes worse when patient is stressed and strained.
- Hemifacial spasm becomes less when the patient is asleep.
- Superficial sensation remains intact.
Treatment Options For Hemifacial Spasm
Rarely any therapy gives complete relief to the patient suffering from hemifacial spasm.
- Few medicines are available that give partial relief to the patient. Among them are anti- epileptic medicines and benzodiazepine group of drugs. Both are able to relax the contracted facial muscles, but at the same time person becomes sleepy.
- Botulin injection is effective in relaxing the spasm of facial muscles. It acts upon the nerve by blocking its signal. However, the effect does not last for more than 3 months. Patient has to take this injection from time to time. Side effect is double vision and drooping of eyelid.
- Micro-vascular surgery is the last option. It involves decompression of nerve. But due to serious side effects surgery is only considered when the condition causes serious disability.
- Homeopathy has been found effective in relieving the symptoms to great extent, even though the disease is not completely cured.