Bell’s palsy: what it is and possible treatments
Chiropractic treatments may be well-known for the healing of back pain but treatment can actually help alleviate a wide variety of health conditions, including Bell’s palsy, a condition which can strike without warning, affecting the facial muscles. Anyone who has suffered from this condition will know that it is frightening and may take time to improve.
So what is Bell’s palsy?
The condition, although temporary, can have an adverse effect on the individual because partial paralysis will affect how they look as well as other important facial functions. The 7th cranial nerve (facial nerve) known as the Fallopian canal within the skull, is located just below the ear and it affects the muscles on the sides of the face – although usually just one side. These facial nerves play an important role as they control blinking and can prevent the individual closing one eye. Some people may struggle to frown or even smile as it impacts basic facial expressions. Nerve impulses are also sent to the tear glands, saliva glands and the connecting muscles to the small bone in the ear.
Bell’s palsy interrupts the function of the facial nerve and impacts the messages sent via the brain to the facial muscles. Subsequently, paralysis or at least, a weakness in the facial area is experienced. Each individual will experience a variation of these negative impacts – dry eyes or excessive tears, a noticeable drooping of the eyelid or drooping to one side of the mouth is common. Often these symptoms will manifest quickly and typically worsen over a 48-hour period. Some individuals will complain of a ringing in one or both ears and dizziness, and may struggle to eat or drink.
While the exact cause is unknown, it is possible that the common cold sore virus, or even viral meningitis could be responsible. It is also possible that those with high blood pressure, middle ear infections, diabetes or flu symptoms could be at risk of developing Bell’s palsy. Facial injuries or skull trauma could also be responsible. If the facial nerve becomes inflamed and swells, pressure within the Fallopian canal can lead to restriction of oxygen and blood to the nerve cells. This condition impacts both men and women, although those with upper respiratory problems or diabetes are more likely to suffer from it.
While it is always important to obtain a medical diagnosis to ensure no other probable cause, it is true that a visit to a chiropractic surgery can help to alleviate this condition. Physical therapy, acupuncture or facial massage may also be useful.
Manual manipulation will be required on specific areas of the face and even on the body to ascertain any area of damage which could contribute to the problem. The Chiropractor will focus on restoring mobility and of course, movement to the impacted facial muscles and this can afford great relief to the individual, helping them to eat normally or even close their eyes. Often individuals are embarrassed by the condition, which causes greater stress and anxieties. Usually there is noted improvement after just one chiropractic session and continued sessions will see the individual on the road to recovery.