What is Bell's Palsy
Bell’s Palsy is a neuralgia of the facial nerve. There are two facial nerves, each supplying one side of the face. It supplies the muscles and skin of the face as well as most of the tongue. It comes from the lower part of the brain, then divides into several branches as it passes into the face. Depending upon which part of the nerve is impacted by the neuralgia, the symptoms can be variable.
The most common symptoms are a weakness on one side of the face, drooping of one side of the mouth, drooling, inability to close an eye and excessive tearing in that eye. The significant distortion of facial features which results from Bell’s Palsy is often a cause of anxiety and self-consciousness. Pain may be a feature throughout the course of recovery. A notable cause of pain is the discomfort of muscle cramping during the late stages of recovery as muscle cramping accompanies reconnection of the nerve to the muscle.
The cause of Bell’s Palsy is believed to be viral. It can strike at any age. It is most often of short duration, from 2 to 12 week. Most people will recover spontaneously within this time frame. For some, recovery can be slow, but achieved within a year. An unfortunate 10% are left with permanent disability.
We recommend using Bioflex low intensity laser to speed recovery and for pain relief. It’s effectiveness is supported by clinical research, and well documented. Red and infrared light energy emitted by the bioflex laser stimulates the production of ATP, the main fuel for cells. Targeting injured cells, this light energy can restore normal cell structure and function. For those who suffer with occipital neuralgia, with sufficient treatment, a full cure is possible for many and with it, the prevention of future attacks.
We also recommend a multi-disciplinary approach to care, that may include physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture. Physiotherapy is used to preserve or stimulate the function of affected muscles. Massage is used to keep muscle tissue supple and as an aid for relaxation. Acupuncture is helpful when anxiety complicates recovery.
How our clients describe pain when they have Bell’s Palsy:
- Initially, they notice strange sensations more than pain. These include:
- difficulty making facial expressions, such as smiling and squinting
- Difficulty or inability to close an eye; and associated tearing
- A loss of sensation in the face
- Drooling because they can’t lift the corner of their mouth
- Loss of the sense of taste
- Headache, which may precede the more characteristic symptoms
- Usually later, pain in the face appears
A point to ponder: Here’s the thing with this neuralgia...Nerve repair is slow, and the last step involves re-activation of the affected muscles. The disuse which can occur while the nerve is regenerating can block re-activation and result in permanent disability.
- For Bell’s Palsy, the 40% faster healing time frame is most useful as it improves the chance of successful recovery of function.
- The best treatment approach is multi-disciplinary. Physiotherapy, massage therapy and acupuncture all provide very useful treatment options It is important to preserve muscle suppleness and function, as well as manage stress and anxiety.