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  • Gathered Roots

What Is Bell's Palsy?

Bell's palsy is an unexplained episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis.

It begins suddenly and worsens over 48 hours.

This condition results from damage to the facial nerve (the 7th cranial nerve).

Pain and discomfort usually occur on one side of the face or head.

Bell’s palsy can strike anyone at any age.

It occurs most often in pregnant women, and people who have diabetes, influenza, a cold, or another upper respiratory ailment. Bell's palsy affects men and women equally.

Bell's palsy is not considered permanent, but in rare cases, it does not disappear. Currently, there is no known cure for Bell's palsy; however, recovery usually begins 2 weeks to 6 months from the onset of the symptoms. Most people with Bell's palsy recover full facial strength and expression.

Most common symptoms of Bell's palsy:

Disordered movement of the muscles that control facial expressions, such as smiling, squinting, blinking, or closing the eyelid, loss of feeling in the face, headache, tearing, drooling, loss of the sense of taste on the front two-thirds of the tongue, inability to close the eye on the affected side of the face.

Symptoms of Bell's palsy may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is Bell’s palsy treated?

If a specific cause for Bell’s palsy is identified, such as infection, that cause will be treated. Otherwise, the symptoms are treated as needed. Steroids to reduce inflammation, Antiviral medicine, such as acyclovir, Analgesics or moist heat to relieve pain.

Some people may choose to use alternative therapies in the treatment of Bell's palsy, such treatment may include: Relaxation, Acupuncture, Electrical stimulation, Biofeedback training, and Vitamin therapy, including B12, B6, and the mineral zinc.

In a 2015 review of 14 studies that included 1,541 people, researchers found higher partial or complete recovery rates in people with Bell’s palsy who received acupuncture compared with other treatments. The researchers concluded that acupuncture seems to be superior to drug therapies for treating Bell’s palsy.

In a 2021 review of studies, researchers investigated the timing of acupuncture for treating Bell’s palsy. They found strong evidence that acupuncture in the acute stage was associated with increased effectiveness. The acute stage was defined as the first 7 days after symptoms developed.

At Gathered Roots, we provide acupuncture treatment for Bell’s Palsy. The recommended treatment is twice per week for at least 12-15 sessions.

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