The cause of the condition is unknown, so treatments vary. Common treatments include Vitamin B drugs, corticosteroids, surgery, physiotherapy, neurorestorative drugs, and acupuncture.Some doctors may prescribe an antiviral medicine, due to a correlation with the herpes simplex virus.
Vitamin B and corticosteroids have an anti-inflammatory nature that helps improve paralysis. Surgical decompression of the facial nerve is a more controversial treatment. Several studies recommend it, while others state it is not effective. Physical therapy may be added regardless of surgery as a way to rebuild strength in the facial muscles.
Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy is gaining traction as a beneficial treatment. The procedure helps reduce inflammation in the body, a suspected cause of the condition. Many patients pair this with other holistic lifestyle practices known to help with chronic inflammation like diet, exercise, and sleep hygiene.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes Bell’s Palsy to be a deficiency of qi. This allows the invasion of winds into the face that bring pathogens and negative energy. TCM practitioners consider qi to be the life force. It makes up the vital substances of the body. Acupuncture treatments allow the qi to flow. This closes off the channels that allow the wind. An acupuncture clinic will work with patients to determine the best individual treatment plan.
Bell’s palsy is also known as idiopathic facial paralysis. It is a form of peripheral neuropathy that causes acute facial paralysis. It tends to affect one side of the face and often develops without warning. Inflammation is the suspected cause of paralysis in the facial nerves.
Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy include sudden weakness of the facial nerve, pain, headache, and dry eye. A patient may also experience sensitivity to sound, distorted taste sensations, and excessive tears due to facial paralysis.
It is the most common facial nerve disorder. Bell’s Palsy affects 11 to 40 adults each year, with a total of about 60,000 people developing it in the US each year. 1 in 60 may have a fatal risk. Recovery varies. For many, the effects only last a few weeks. Some may experience permanent facial diminished facial function.
Bell's Palsy patients can expect a full treatment process of eight weeks for recovery. Doctors and acupuncture clinics recommend twice-weekly sessions that can be reduced after an initial period as symptoms begin to ease. Some patients may experience immediate relief. In milder cases, a recovery rate of three weeks is also common.
After 8 weeks, patients show improvement when measured on the Facial Disability Index (FDI). Both the social and physical sub-scales showed a significant difference when using acupuncture. There were also noticeable improvements in facial nerve ability and level of stiffness.
When working with an experienced practitioner, communicate your medical history and current conditions to help them determine the best treatment for you. Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy is an effective treatment but can be improved with an individualized treatment plan.
Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medicinal practice. It involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the skin to promote healing. A practitioner may also use massage on these points to further encourage healing. The treatment helps with pain and fatigue. Many believe it reduces inflammation in the body.
Studies have found acupuncture to be an effective treatment for Bell’s Palsy. One study compared 11 randomized controlled trials. They found a correlation between acupuncture and an increased cure rate.
A second study declared acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy to be "superior" to drug therapy. Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy showed a significant difference in both cure rate and total effectiveness rate as a treatment when compared to drug therapy.
Authentic Chinese Acupuncture
Including acupuncture in your treatment plan can make a huge difference. Find a practitioner with the right education and experience to help you. An acupuncture clinic that specializes in TCM may have the expertise you need for your condition. Ask about the experience of their acupuncturists and if they've treated Bell's Palsy in the past.
Bell's Palsy is a physically and socially debilitating condition. The sudden onset of symptoms and the uncertain future of recovery can be frightening. If you're ready to try acupuncture, reach out to our team at EBOM. Our experienced practitioners can help treat conditions like Bell's Palsy.
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