The condition referred to as Bell’s palsy is a form of facial paralysis that is, in most cases temporary. According to studies conducted by Health Harvard, Bell’s affects 1 in 5,000 people in the United States alone each year. The condition affects one side of an individual’s face; where the side affected becomes weakened or completely paralyzed.
It is classified as a neurological disorder that causes temporary and sometimes in rare cases permanent nerve damage, as the condition disrupts the communication channels between the brain and the facial nerves. In some cases, Bell’s develops over-night, while sometimes it takes 24 to 48 hours to fully set in.
Numerous studies conducted on Bell’s palsy including one conducted by Medscape lists some of the symptoms of Bell’s to include one-sided facial drooping, drooling, wet eyes, sensitivity to sounds and bright light, continuous headaches, as well as impaired speech.
Here is a list of nine of Bell’s palsy symptoms and their reduction.
One of the treatments that can help alleviate Bell’s symptoms a little quicker is acupuncture. This ancient traditional Chinese healing method is used to treat numerous conditions including sleeping disorders, muscle pains, and nerve damage through stimulation. According to Chinese traditions, Bell’s palsy is coined as an “external wind-cold” that is blowing and disrupting the channels in the face. The Chinese believe that Bell’s is caused by the disruption of a person’s energy, which is traditionally called the Qi.
Acupuncture is used to eradicate the external wind-cold by placing pins on the affected individual’s face in order to restore blood circulation. It is recommended that acupuncture treatments be conducted up to twice a week. The pins not only help with restoring blood circulation, but they also enhance lost nerve function. According to traditional Chinese medicine standards, it is crucial that a person dealing with Bell’s eliminate stress by taking some time off to recover and eliminate any stress caused by busy routines.
2. Steroids and Antiviral Drugs
As Bell’s palsy can be caused by a viral infection one of the recommended treatments for the condition is the use of antiviral drugs and steroids such as corticosteroids. However, due to the highly addictive nature of steroids, this option is often viewed as a controversial and rather aggressive form of treatment. This owed to the fact that in most cases Bell’s symptoms tend to subside on their own. Both steroids and viral drugs can be administered separately, but sometimes can be administered simultaneously.
According to guidelines provided by the Academy of Otolaryngology, corticosteroids are a possible treatment for the condition only if administered within a period of 72 hours from the time the symptoms of Bell’s start to show. With antiviral drugs only being useful if the cause of Bell’’ is found to be related to a viral infection, and it has to be administered with corticosteroids. Using this form of treatment is only beneficial if the original onset of the condition can be associated with a viral infection.
3. Vitamin B12
B-Vitamins are some of the most helpful nutrients one can ingest and they help your body rebuild itself. Vitamin B12 is specifically helpful for nerve growth and regeneration as well as inflammation minimization. In the past, Vitamin B12 has been used as a better; healthier substitute for steroids and so is the case with Vitamin B12 used as a Bell’s treatment. Studies conducted on the administration of steroids vs Vitamin B12 showed that administered B12 in Bell’s palsy patients significantly reduced symptoms in a 2-week time frame. Which was 8 weeks quicker than administering steroids.
For Bell’s patients, Vitamin B12 can be administered as an injection which works a lot faster due to the fact that it is ingested directly into affected facial nerves. It can also be taken in the form of supplements, which take a little longer to start up the healing process due to the fact that your body first has to break down the supplement. The best thing is to consult your doctor, who will recommend the best technique for your case.
One of the very first body parts affected by Bell’s is the eyes. As a result of the nerve damage, many of Bell’s patients find themselves struggling to close their eyes. This means that there isn’t enough moisture entering the eyes, and blinking on the affected side also becomes a rather difficult task. One of the ways to reduce symptoms of Bell’s is eye care. This means getting your eyes moisturized so that they don’t become irritable, dry, itchy and red.
The best way to care for the eyes during a Bell’s palsy onset is to use eye drops.
Water-based eye drops will have the eyes remain hydrated resulting in them being less irritable. Another way is to increase your vegetable intake especially those that are high in Vitamin A and Vitamin E such as carrots. Although this isn’t an actual holistic treatment for all the Bell’s symptoms it is one way of reducing and alleviating the discomfort.
5. Regular Massages
One treatment that is highly recommended due to its non-invasive methods, is a massage. The message needs to be given, especially, around the affected nerves. The reason for this is to ensure the health of the facial muscles during the nerve healing process. Massages are known to stimulate sensory nerves within the body and as such stimulates progressive blood flow.
This is good for a Bell’s patient as the goal is to restore nerve sensation on the affected areas.
Certain massage styles are also good at keeping muscles flaccid and elastic. They also reduce muscle tension which improves and strengthens a bell’s patient’s eyebrow movements and mouth and jaw muscles. As stress has been identified as one of the factors leading to an onset of Bell’s palsy, full-body massages are also recommended as a stress reliever and way to release the affected individual’s tension which helps in eradicating Bell’s quicker.
6. Facial Physical Therapy
This treatment is also known as Neuromuscular Retraining (NMR) therapy, which is a form of physical therapy specifically related to the facial muscles and nerves. As previously mentioned, Bell’s palsy is defined as a neurological condition which disrupts the communication channels and pathways between the brain and the facial nerves. NMR therapy helps to re-train the mind to synchronize facial muscles and nerves to the brain’s instruction.
NMR includes activities such as smiling without showing teeth, trying to smile while showing teeth, creasing the forehead muscles, blinking, sucking in the cheek muscles as well as trying to move them from left to right. NMR is also used in combination with facial massages, where specific massage techniques such as gently pulling the cheeks and scrunching the forehead muscles up and down are applied. In most cases, patients are taught how to use specific NMR therapy techniques at home without the presence of a physical therapist. It is important that you consult with an NMR therapy specialist and learn the correct techniques to do these exercises; as incorrectly executed exercises can cause more damage.
Supplements have been proven to be helpful in building up an individual’s immune system, with zinc being one nutrient that helps do exactly that. Zinc is a mineral found in basically every cell in the body and it is essential to every holistic Bell’s palsy treatment plan. Zinc is not new to the healing game and it has been used for centuries to treat multiple deep wounds, kill infections and basically rebuild and boost your immune system. Zinc is also known as the virus killer and as such can help cure Bell’s caused by viral infections.
Due to its super-powerful healing properties zinc is extremely helpful in Bell’s palsy treatment and the combination of Zinc and Vitamin B6 (which comes later on in the list) is crucial and can help heal symptoms of Bell’s a lot quicker. You can take zinc in the form of a supplement or through zinc powered foods such as cashew nuts, lamb, and dried pumpkin seeds.
8. Castor Oil Compress
This oil has been used in natural healing remedies for generations on end. It helps with improving blood flow circulation which is great for Bell’s patients. It also acts as a natural antiviral or antibiotic and can fight viruses, fungi as well as bacteria. To get the best possible results from using castor oil compresses; it is recommended that it be used warm. This can be done by either putting some castor oil in a pot and warming it up on the stove or using a microwave.
Once the oil has been heated give 5 minutes to cool down to lukewarm, you can then gently massage it on your face, making sure to apply a little more pressure on the affected side. Once sufficiently distributed; take warm cloth and cover your face and keep it there for between 25 and 30 minutes. For this technique to be effective it needs to be routinely implemented at least twice a day until the symptoms have completely subsided.
9. Vitamin B6
This makes for the third supplement on the list, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that it is another B-vitamin. B-vitamins are known for building and enhancing strong bodily function such as motor skills, minimizing oxidative stress levels, high immune systems, blood flow restorations and mental health stabilization. Vitamin B specifically helps with building a healthy nervous system, eye health as well as improved sleep. Getting a regular dose of Vitamin B6 is crucial to any holistic Bell’s treatment.
Vitamin B6 can be taken as a supplement, although that isn’t the most recommended form of ingestion. Rather, it is recommended that it be taken through foods such as grass-fed beef, sesame seeds, and sunflower oil extracts. Vitamin B6 also works best as a combination taken with zinc as it allows zinc to be adequately administered into the bloodstream. Vitamin B6 also works well with vitamin B12, especially when it is administered by way of supplement pills, getting it integrated quicker into the bloodstream.