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 Q & A
What causes Bell’s palsy?
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:
- Viral infections
- Bacterial infections
- Neurologic conditions
- Immune diseases
- Metabolic conditions
- Exposure to wind and cold (according to Chinese medicine)
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.
What symptoms will I develop due to Bell’s palsy?
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:
- Muscle twitching
- Facial drooping including eyelids and mouth
- Drooling from the paralyzed corner of the mouth
- Impaired sense of taste
- Dry eyes or excessive tearing
- Inability to close one eye
- Pain around your jaw or behind your ear
- Ringing in your ear
Your facial drooping appears suddenly and typically affects one side of your face.
What is the treatment for Bell’s palsy?
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:
Bell’s palsy herbal formula
This herbal medicine decreases inflammation, enhances your immune system, and helps fight a viral infection.
Acupuncture with light electrical stimuli
Acupuncture can improve nerve function and relieve your symptoms. Using a gentle electric current together with acupuncture needles enhances the therapeutic effect.
Tuina and Qigong
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.