Bell's palsy is also known as Facial palsy or Idiopathic peripheral facial palsy; it is a disorder of the nerve that controls movement of the muscles in the face.
Damage to this nerve causes weakness or paralysis of these muscles. Paralysis means that you cannot use the muscles at all.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Bell's palsy affects about 30,000 - 40,000 people a year in the United States, it is quite common in New Zealand as well.
Bell's palsy involves damage to the seventh cranial (facial) nerve. This nerve controls the movement of the muscles of the face.
Bell's palsy is thought to be due to swelling (inflammation) of this nerve in the area where it travels through the bones of the skull.
The cause is often not clear in western medicine. It is thought that A type of herpes infection called herpes zoster might be involved.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the diagnosis for Bell's Palsy is termed "External Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat attacking the channels of the face". According to TCM principles, one of the main implications of this condition is an underlying qi ( A person's inherent energy) deficiency. In China, acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to assist in Bell's Palsy recovery, and the initial treatment goal according to TCM would be to expel Wind and resolve Damp, as well as to invigorate qi and promote Blood circulation to the face. Consistent acupuncture treatments could help soothe a patient, expedite the paralysis from dissipating, and enhance nerve function.
Sometimes you may have a cold shortly before the symptoms of Bell's palsy begin.
Symptoms most often start suddenly, but may take 2 - 3 days to show up. They do not become more severe after that.
Symptoms are almost always on one side only. They may range from mild to severe.
The face will feel stiff or pulled to one side, and may look different. Other symptoms can include:
Other symptoms that may occur:
Your health care provider may give you lubricating eye drops or eye ointments to keep the surface of the eye moist if you cannot close it completely. You may need to wear an eye patch while you sleep.
In Nine Life Land Acupuncture, it is recommended to treat bell’s palsy as soon as possible. And the frequency of treatment would be more during the early stage. A 5-day treatment could often improve 80% of hypophasis.
Most cases go away completely within a few weeks to months.
If you did not lose all of your nerve function and symptoms began to improve within 3 weeks, you're more likely to regain all or most of the strength in your facial muscles.
Sometimes (but very little in our clinic), the following symptoms still may be present:
In this case, further treatments are recommended.