Bell’s Palsy is an acute, ipsilateral (one sided) facial paralysis that results from an inflammation of the 7th cranial nerve.
It is the most common form of acute facial paralysis with the clinical features of acute onset, weakness of facial nerve, auricular pain, and headaches, reaching its peak within 48th hours. Recovery times will vary according to the degree of nerve damage and the overall health condition of the patient.
How we treat Bell’s Palsy at Complete Balance
Classically trained acupuncturist have humorously coined the phase “bombing the face”, as a description of the techniques often used in Traditional or Medical acupuncture treatments that involve needling every acupoint on the face. This technique is neither effective nor pleasant. At Complete Balance, we believe less is more and it is important to discard points that are useless.
In combination with Zhu’s Scalp acupuncture, few distal Tung’s acupoints and Daoyin, we have helped numerous patients recover fully and quickly. Early intervention is essential. If a patient starts their treatment within 1 or 2 days of onset, complete recovery is often seen with daily treatments for 1.5 to 2 weeks. This is faster than any medicine or other modalities.
Even if your condition is in chronic stage, our treatment protocol is still effective but it will take more time.
The 7th cranial nerve controls a wide range of functions and the symptoms that occur as a result of damage to this nerve could vary in severity. The loss in functions include inability to blink, close the eyes, raise the eyebrows, smile and frown. Furthermore, the facial nerve carries nerve impulses to the different glands in the face and different areas of the face may be affected as a result: damages to lacrimal glands can prevent the ability to lubricate and moisten the eyes, damages to saliva glands could cause irregular secretion of saliva and loss in the sense of taste as a result of nerve damage connecting to the taste sensory. In Bell’s palsy, patients cannot move the upper and lower part of their face on one side; in contrast, central facial nerve lesions as a result of stroke affect primarily the lower face.
Most patients demonstrate partial recovery within 2-3 weeks. In some cases, it may take 6 months or more, and is sometimes incomplete, leaving some with permanent disfigured facial paralysis.
The cause of Bell’s Palsy is often attributed to viral or bacterial infection damaging the 7th cranial nerve and although this may be the cause for some cases, many of the occurrences of Bell’s Palsy is seen in individuals as a response to extreme stress, exposure to cold temperature, lack of sleep or viral infection. In Oriental Medicine, one of the main implication that lead to Bell’s Palsy is weakness is a person’s inherent energy. This is why Bell’s Palsy can result in individuals who are exposed to harsh environment that further weaken their constitution and immunity. Bell’s palsy can also be the result of a compression from brain tumor, skull fracture, nerve damage from surgical procedures, diabetes, chronic otitis media or hypertension.
Prednisone, a synthetic corticosteroid drug, is frequently prescribed to reduce the swelling and inflammation of the 7th nerve. In the case of bacterial or viral infection, antibiotics or anti-viral medications are recommended. If the eyes are unable to close and normal blinking is not possible, eye drops and eye shades are recommended to protect the eye from corneal damage. Unfortunately these medical interventions only aim to minimize the risk of complications and long-term effect rather than treat the functions that have been lost. As optional treatments of Bell’s palsy, physical therapy or surgical operation are recommended but no particular benefits of have been reported.