Your face feels a little odd, so you look in the mirror and, to your dismay, only half of your face responds when you try to smile or blink your eyes. These are the primary symptoms of Bell’s palsy. Dr. Beijing Men at Integrated Oriental Medicine encourages you to seek immediate care to rule out a stroke and to start treatment for Bell’s palsy. Getting early therapy can relieve your symptoms and promote optimal healing. To schedule an appointment, call one of the offices in Seattle or Bellevue, Washington, or use the only booking feature.
Bell’s palsy is a sudden, temporary facial paralysis that’s caused by inflammation and swelling in your facial nerves. The inflammation can develop from many sources, including:
The affected nerve, called the seventh cranial nerve, travels through a narrow bony canal as it runs from your brain to each side of your face and then branches to serve multiple areas of your face.
These nerves control facial expressions like smiling and eye blinking. They also carry taste sensations from the tongue and transmit nerve signals to the tear glands, saliva glands, and muscles in the middle ear.
When the nerve is damaged or disrupted, you can develop a range of symptoms from mild muscle weakness to total paralysis. Other common symptoms include:
Your facial drooping appears suddenly and typically affects one side of your face.
Treatment for Bell’s palsy aims to reduce the inflammation and treat underlying health problems that may be present. Dr. Men uses a combination of treatments including:
This herbal medicine decreases inflammation, enhances your immune system, and helps fight a viral infection.
Acupuncture can improve nerve function and relieve your symptoms. Using a gentle electric current together with acupuncture needles enhances the therapeutic effect.
Tuina is a type of therapeutic massage that relieves pressure and balances while Qigong is a mind-body-spirit practice that combines breathing and mindful intent with movement to cultivate energy and promote healing.
You need to blink to spread tears across your eye and protect it from dust. When Bell’s palsy prevents blinking, it’s important to protect your eye by using your finger to manually blink, wearing protective eyewear, using ointments, and taping your eyelid closed at night.
Dr. Men recommends talking with your physician about getting prednisone, antiviral, or antibiotic medications as necessary.
If you develop Bell’s palsy, early treatment promotes optimal healing. Call Integrated Oriental Medicine or book an appointment online.