What You Need to Know About Chiropractic Bells Palsy

Bell’s palsy is a sudden and unexplained episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis.

The most common cause of facial paralysis, the condition can strike anyone at any age and can last anywhere from a few weeks to 6 months.

In some cases, muscle weakness can last forever, even after recovery.

Here’s everything you need to know about this type of facial paralysis, its cause and symptoms, and how Chiropractic care is the best option to treat it.

What is Bell's palsy, and what causes it?

facial nerve palsy

Bell’s palsy is a paralysis of facial muscles.

People with the condition have one side of the face drooping or becoming stiff. As a result, they have difficulty smiling and closing or opening their eyes on the affected side.

Bell’s palsy occurs when the seventh cranial nerve, the nerve that controls facial muscles, becomes swollen, compressed, or inflamed.

Several possible reasons for this damage include infections, trauma, increased stress, and suppressed immune system.

In most cases, Bell’s palsy goes away within a few weeks or months.

What are the risk factors for Bell's palsy?

treat bell's palsy

There is no exact cause for this damage to the facial nerves, but certain viruses and bacteria, such as herpes simplex virus, sarcoidosis, and HIV, have been linked to the development of the condition.

The condition affects men and women equally, but you are also more likely to develop Bell’s palsy if you

  • have a family history of the condition

  • are pregnant

  • have diabetes

  • have high blood pressure

  • have a lung infection

What are the symptoms of Bell's palsy?

idiopathic facial paralysis

The symptoms of Bell’s palsy depend on the severity of the nerve damage–the more inflamed and compressed the facial nerve is, the more severe the paralysis tends to be.

Symptoms typically appear suddenly and progress rapidly, reaching their full effect within the next 48 hours.

Among these symptoms include:

  • a droopy mouth and/or drooling

  • difficulty pronouncing certain words

  • an inability to control facial muscles and make facial expressions, such as smiling or frowning

  • muscle twitches in the face and limited facial movement

  • altered taste and difficulty in eating and drinking

  • dry eye and mouth

  • headache and/or sound hypersensitivity

What are the treatment options for Bell's palsy?

Effective treatment and management for Bell’s palsy involve prompt diagnosis to rule out other types of facial paralysis-causing conditions such as Lyme disease, stroke, and tumours.

Early diagnosis also helps determine the extent of the nerve damage.

After a diagnosis, the typical treatment route for Bell’s palsy involves the following:

Medication

  • Antiviral drugs

  • Steroids

  • Analgesics such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen

Home treatment

  • Warm compress to relieve pain

  • facial exercises such as Repeatedly closing the eye of the affected part and raising the eyebrows, and holding for 15-20 seconds at a time

Eye protection

  • Bell’s palsy can cause the eye of the affected area not to close fully, making it more prone to irritation and drying.

  • Use lubricating eye drops to keep them moist, and wear eyeglasses and an eye patch to avoid getting debris into them.

Plastic surgery

  • Eyebrow and/or eyelid lift

  • Facial implants

  • Nerve grafts

Therapeutic approach

  • Physical therapy (such as to the cervical and thoracic spine)

  • Facial massage

Alternative medicine

  • Acupuncture

  • Biofeedback training

  • Botulinum toxin

Does Chiropractic for Bell’s palsy work?

unilateral facial paralysis

Chiropractic treatment is a holistic approach that looks at the whole body to solve problem areas, with extra focus on cervical spine fixations.

Unlike other treatment options for the condition, the practice can manage Bell’s palsy symptoms, speed up the healing process, and promote better functionality all around.

For example, the steroid prednisone, a commonly prescribed medication, has serious side effects and has to be taken with strict supervision.

And while the therapeutic approaches for Bell’s palsy may be relatively risk-free, they are slow to work and may cause unnecessary strain to the facial muscles.

Another option is to manage the condition through the surgical route of decompression surgery, but this is not recommended due to the high risk of facial nerve injury and permanent hearing loss associated with this.

The Chiropractic treatment route is not only safe, but it is also effective. A 47-year-old woman with chronic Bell’s palsy showed a 90% improvement after undergoing Chiropractic manipulation that involved:

  • high-velocity, low-amplitude Chiropractic manipulation (adjustments) to the cervical spine, correcting interference in the nerve system

  • interferential muscle stimulation

  • bilateral hydroculation on the trapezius muscles

Choose the Holistic Route in Managing Bell’s Palsy

viral infection

With limited options and no one way to treat Bell’s palsy, choosing which way to manage the condition can be difficult.

Chiropractic manipulation offers a safe and holistic alternative to the usual course of treatment.

We offer this treatment route at Vitality Chiropractic Centres.

Along with effectively alleviating the condition’s symptoms and speeding up your healing, our patient-centric approach considers your lifestyle and personal health goals to create the most accurate treatment plan for your unique needs.

Hasten your recovery time in the most holistic way possible with us, book a complimentary, no-obligation appointment today.

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