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Bell’s Palsy

What is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s Palsy (also known as acute peripheral facial palsy) is a condition that causes sudden weakness in the muscles on one side of the face, making half of the face appear to droop. Some common appearance effects include one-sided smiles, and inability to close one eye.

The exact cause of Bell’s Palsy is unknown. Experts think it’s caused by swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of the face. It could also be caused by a viral infection.

Symptoms can improve anytime within a few weeks to a few months. There is a small percentage of people who continue to have some Bell’s Palsy symptoms for life. Bell’s Palsy can occur more than once although the attacks are rare. Often times there’s a family history of recurrent attacks if an individual does get attacks more than once.

What are the earlier symptoms of Bell’s Palsy?
Most common experiences include the below:

  • Pain around the jaw
  • Pain in or behind your ear on the affected side usually occurs 2-3 days before the attack
  • Severe headaches before the attack

Who can get Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s Palsy occurs more often in people who:

  • Are pregnant, especially during the third trimester, or one week after giving birth.
  • Have an upper respiratory infection, such as the flu or a cold.
  • Have diabetes.
  • Have high blood pressure.
  • Have obesity.
  • Have gotten bitten by a tick – often an earlier symptom of Lyme Disease.

What shall you do if you get Bell’s Palsy?
If you experience any type of paralysis, seek medical help right away as paralysis can be a symptom of having a stroke. While Bell’s Palsy is not caused by a stroke, the symptoms can be similar.

Medical therapies for Bell’s Palsy aim to speed up recovery and lower the risk of complications. Common western treatments for Bell’s Palsy often includes:

  • 7-10 days of steroid medications
  • Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir or valaciclovir

Eye drops and ointments also help to prevent your eye from drying out while surgical tape helps keep the affected eye closed while sleeping.

When shall you start Acupuncture Treatment for Bell’s Palsy?
The timing of when you start acupuncture treatment for Bell’s Palsy is very important. If you get treated during the acute stage (first 7 days after symptoms develop), the recovery can be 90% or higher.