Acupuncture’s Role In Treating Bell’s Palsy

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If you were wondering – Yes you can speed up your recovery from Bell’s Palsy with Acupuncture. Chinese medicine has been treating Bell’s Palsy with acupuncture and herbal medicine for over 2000 years. According to Chinese medical theory, Bell’s Palsy is a condition caused by an attack of external wind pathogen to the ear and subsequent blockage of the meridians.

Bell’s Palsy is a form of facial paralysis that results from inflammation of the facial (7th cranial) nerve. Named after Charles Bell, a Scottish anatomist who first described the syndrome in 1812, Bell’s Palsy is the most common form of acute facial paralysis. The symptoms are usually one-sided and cause an inability to control the muscles on the affected side of the face.

The facial nerve innervates the facial muscles and is responsible for smiling, frowning, blinking, chewing, and sensing taste. This facial nerve also supplies the tear ducts and the salivary glands. Bell’s Palsy occurs as a result of an inflamed, swollen or compressed cranial nerve. The exact cause of the damage is unknown. Most scientists agree that it can be caused by a viral infection.

Symptoms

  • Facial weakness or paralysis, 
  • drooping eyelids or difficulty closing the eye causing irritation to the eye
  • difficulty eating and drinking
  • difficulty making facial expressions, and host of other symptoms

Prognosis

The prognosis for recovery is mostly very good. Ultimately the extent of nerve damage is what will determine your degree of recovery. Most medical advice suggests that recovery will begin 2 weeks from the initial onset of symptoms, and most people will recover completely within 3 to 6 months. Based on this advised most people take the recommended medications and wait out the 3 to 6 months.

This is a concern as a lot of people don’t respond to conventional treatment during this time frame and symptoms can continue on for a lifetime. The ‘wait and see’ approach is a risk that can and should be avoided. Early intervention is the aim if you are considering acupuncture. 

Acupuncture

The ideal time to start acupuncture is within the first 2 weeks from the onset of symptoms. The sooner you can start acupuncture the better. It is very common to receive inquiries about treatment from interested patients at the 6-month mark. These are the people who didn’t receive the full recovery they hoped for. A positive outcome is still realistic 6 months later, but greater treatment frequency is required to get the required results. Acupuncture is great for treating the underlying symptoms of Bell’s Palsy as well as the more obvious physical symptoms.

Other treatment 

In the initial stages, your doctor may prescribe steroids to assist with the inflammation and swelling. Other drugs, such as antivirals (virus) or analgesics (pain relief) may also be prescribed. Beyond the first few weeks, there are limited to no other treatment options available.

Care advice

Consult your doctor to rule out anything more sinister like a stroke

Avoid direct wind – it isn’t good for you. Avoid sitting close to a fan, air conditioner, or open window.

Acupuncture – start as soon as possible

Herbal medicine  – your practitioner will prescribe herbs to assist your recovery

Sleep – this is when your body will heal

Breath – Studies show that high stress contributes to weakening the immune system. 

Acupuncture is a safe, drug-free form of treatment for Bell’s Palsy with no side effectsFor more information and to start your recovery make a booking today.

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Katherine Maslen

Author

Hey, I’m Katherine Maslen, naturopath, nutritionist, host of The Shift podcast, author and renegade for health.
Since completing 2 bachelor degrees in health science over 12 years ago, I’ve been helping peeps just like you to be their best through awesome health. I’ve spent most of this time one on one in clinical practice – in the trenches with my clients to navigate them through the minefield that is imperfect health.

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