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Ramsay Hunt Syndrome: As Justin Bieber Cancels Touring Indefinitely, What Is The Condition?

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Unsurprisingly, the singer was inundated with supportive messages from his fans, followers and friends – and wife Hailey Bieber, of course, who wrote “I love u baby,” on an Instagram Story to reshare his message.

Justin’s musical community also rallied around him, including Shawn Mendes, who wrote: “love you so much. I admire you so much,” and Justin Timberlake, adding: “Love you, bro. Prayers up and sending lots of healing vibes!”

Khloé Kardashian also sent her support, replying: “We are praying for you! We love you!!! Rest up! Everyone understands.”

Following Justin’s diagnosis, GLAMOUR spoke to GP Dr Ahmed El Muntasar to find out more about Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, and what his recovery might look like.

What is Ramsay Hunt syndrome and what causes it?

“Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a syndrome caused by a virus that usually invades the facial nerve as it exits near the ear,” says Dr Ahmed. “Usually the virus is in the ear region which affects the facial nerve branches and each of these branches provides input to a group of muscles of facial expression. It’s usually the herpes zoster virus that is the most common culprit – this causes chickenpox and shingles.

“There are a lot of similarities between Ramsay Hunt syndrome and Bells Palsy, however, Ramsay Hunt is usually more severe paralysis and the prognosis is often a little bit worse. The symptoms usually last for longer and are more difficult to treat.”

What are the treatment options for Ramsay Hunt Syndrome? 

“There is no clear treatment for Ramsay Hunt, but because it is caused by a virus, we use antivirals. The most commonly used one in the UK is Aciclovir, it’s tablets you take for a certain number of days to weeks depending on the severity.”

Can Ramsay Hunt Syndrome be permanent?

“The condition can be very difficult to treat and can take time to do so, and in some rare cases it can be permanent – however the vast majority recover.”

Is there any form of rehabilitation available to restore movement?

“Sometimes people use physiotherapy to help – similar to the exercises used for the hips and the joints and so on, but for the face – to increase the blood flow and to increase the nerve supply to the muscle by increasing movement. Ultimately if you are paralysed in a certain muscle you will lose the muscle mass. However if you move it even through physio you will reduce the chances of losing muscle mass and therefore increase chances of recovery.”

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