Palsy refers to disorder of movement. Cerebral palsy is a group of permanent motor disorders that cause movement disabilities. Bell’s palsy is an idiopathic unilateral facial nerve paralysis, i.e. a restriction of movement of facial muscles.

Bell’s palsy is a rapidly progressive condition but is self limiting. Cerebral palsy is non-progressive but deterioration of symptoms can occur due to subdural damage.

Comparison chart

Bell's Palsy versus Cerebral Palsy comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartBell's PalsyCerebral Palsy
Area affected Bell's palsy affects the facial muscles. Cerebral palsy affects the Cerebrum
Progression Rapid progression with partial or complete palsy within a single day. Non progressive motor conditions.
Characterized by Facial drooping Abnormal muscle tone like slouching while sitting.
Diagnosis Diagnosis by exclusion, eliminating all other reasonable possibilities. Analysis of patient’s history and physical examination.
Treatment Self limiting condition, hence treatment might be unnecessary. No cure hence symptomatic supportive therapies are used to help patient live effectively.
ICD-10 G51 G80
ICD-9 351 343
DiseaseDB 1303 2232
eMedicine emerg/56 neuro/533; pmr/24
MeSH D020330 D002547

Physiology of the diseases

In Bell’s palsy the facial nerve or the VII cranial nerve is affected due to which there is swelling leading to nerve inhibition, damage or death. Cerebral palsy occurs due to disorders in connections between cortex and parts of the cerebellum.

Symptoms of cerebral vs Bell's palsy

Activities like closing of eye, blinking, frowning, lacrimation, salivation and smiling are affected due to Bell's palsy. The eye present on the affected side remains open and there is marked facial drooping.

Cerebral palsy is characterized by deformities, spasms, involuntary facial gestures, unsteady gait, scissor walking etc. speech and language disorders are common due to poor respiratory control.

Bell's Palsy affects facial muscles.
Bell's Palsy affects facial muscles.
A kid with cerebral palsy walking with the help of a posturewalker.
A kid with cerebral palsy walking with the help of a posturewalker.

Causes of Bell's vs cerebral palsy

Bell’s palsy can be caused due to reactivation of viruses belonging to the herpes family by environmental conditions, stress etc. Cerebral palsy is believed to occur due to a number of reasons like, infection during pregnancy, asphyxia before birth, birth trauma, complications on prenatal period, multiple births, childhood trauma, severe jaundice, exposure to toxins etc.


Bell’s palsy improves with use of corticosteroids, but most people recover spontaneously even without treatment. Cerebral palsy has no cure, but patients are subjected to various forms of therapies like occupational therapy, speech therapy, cord blood therapy, conductive education, massage therapy, physiotherapy etc even surgery. People inflicted with this disorder have many learning disabilities but the underlying brain injury prevents them from expressing their cognitive abilities.


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