Bell’s palsy is characterised by a droopy appearance around the eye and mouth on the affected side of the face. It is caused by swelling of the facial nerve at the point where it passes through a small opening in the skull. The pinched and swollen nerve becomes inflamed, which interferes with the nerve’s proper functioning. The reason for the swelling is unknown, although infection or autoimmune responses are suspected.
Robina 7 Day Doctors and Acupuncture recommends this video on Bell’s Palsy:
The symptoms of Bell’s palsy include:
- paralysis or weakness on one side of the face
- pain around the ear
- the eye can’t fully close
- the mouth droops
- the face feels heavy
- foods taste slightly different.
- artificial tears to keep the affected eye lubricated
- a patch to protect the affected eye
- using tape to close the affected eyelid at night
- medications such as corticosteroids to help reduce the swelling of the facial nerve
- pain-relieving medications
- facial exercises
Acupuncture may help in the treatment of Bell’s palsy by:
- reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors.
- enhancing local microcirculation, by increasing the diameter and blood flow velocity of peripheral arterioles.
- nerve and muscular stimulation
- During regeneration and repair of the facial nerve, some neural fibres may take an unusual course and connect to neighbouring muscle fibres. This produces unusual neurologic pathways.
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