Bell’s Palsy is a condition wherein inflammation of the seventh cranial nerve near the ear leads to paralysis of the muscles of facial expression. Essentially one side of one’s face does not work as well as the other side. The extent of the paralysis can vary from a mild weakness to total paralysis. The condition usually starts suddenly – typically within two days. In addition to the muscles of facial expression being involved there can also be involvement of eye blinking and closing, tearing and salivary function. Typical onset is secondary to activation of a dormant virus set off by stress, trauma or an illness. Thankfully the inflammation and paralysis will resolve on its own about 70% of the time. Symptoms usually start to improve after a few weeks and good recovery will occur in about six months though many do not regain full function of all the prior involved areas. More severe cases can take longer to resolve and about 10% of the cases may have significant symptoms long term.
There are several paths of treatment one can opt for to help tilt the odds in their favour of achieving a full or more complete recovery of their condition.
Antiviral medication, steroids, eye lubricant at the start of the condition is most important. Eye patch at night so that the involved eye does not get too dry. Later on if the facial paralysis persists then the possibility of using botox injections to the good side of the face to help even out one’s facial expression can be looked at. Cosmetic surgery can be utilized. Proper diagnostic workup at onset to rule out cancer or a stroke as a cause of the paralysis is important. From a more holistic perspective, various vitamins can be utilized particularly the B vitamins with a focus on Vitamin B12.
Specific exercises to stimulate the facial muscles involved is important as you want to activate the neurologic pathways that are being impacted. Massage, stretches. laser and electric muscle stimulation can be beneficial.
Many anecdotal reports indicate that acupuncture may be helpful usually with the addition of Chinese herbs.
Brain Based Chiropractic Neurology:
No two patients are treated the same. We identify the specific neurologic pathways involved and look to properly stimulate and reset the deficits of those pathways so that better signal from the seventh cranial nerve and the central nervous system as a whole, can get through. I utilize muscle testing as per protocols developed by Dr. Jose Palomar – founder of P-DTR technique – to assist in identifying the involved neurologic pathways and receptors that need proper stimulation and reset. Response to the treatment are often seen within a session or two.
Additionally, I take a holistic perspective of treating the person and will look to address other potential areas of dysfunction in the person such as spinal joints, digestion, food sensitivities, detoxification issues secondary to accumulation of excess toxic chemicals or metals and will look to restore proper balance of the gut microbiome via recommended changes of ones diet together with the usage of a few nutritional supplements. The general idea here is to unburden the body of the various smaller (and sometimes quite large) fires of inflammation that are going on so that your body can then do a better job of healing itself.