Bell’s palsy is an acute, one-sided facial nerve paralysis, which can result in weakness of the muscles of facial expression. It is the most common cause of facial paralysis. Bell’s palsy usually presents in sudden onset, unilateral, weakness of the facial nerve, ear pain, and headaches. Bells Palsy sufferers have also reported impaired tolerance of noise and disturbance of taste.
Most patients with Bell’s palsy recover normally within 3 weeks, with or without medical intervention. However, full restoration may take up to 9 months in some cases and up to 30% of patients are left with complications, such as potentially disfiguring facial weakness,needing further medical therapy. Therefore, medical interventions aim to promote the recovery process and minimize the risk of complications and long-term effects.
Management includes eye protection, treatment with corticosteroids or antivirals, physical therapy, and acupuncture. Early administration of corticosteroids is vital due to their powerful anti-inflammatory effect, and have been proven to be an effective treatment. There is conflicting evidence on the efficacy of physiotherapy in the treatment of Bell’s Palsy however the latest evidence suggests the medical acupuncture may be an effective treatment modality in order to stimulate healing and reduce the risk of complication development.
As a British Medical Acupuncture Society trained Physiotherapist, treatment may include:
● Medical Acupuncture
● Soft tissue techniques
● Active assisted facial muscle exercises
● Oral and eye self care advice
● Electrical stimulation / Electro-acupuncture
At SPARC: FACES we are passionate about addressing the underlying causes of your symptoms, Through thorough assessment and with a combination of education, advice, manual therapy and self care exercises aim to resolve your pain and prevent its recurrence. Should onward referral be necessary we liaise with GPs, ENTs, Neurologists etc in order to facilitate appropriate care for all of our clients.
Lee et al (2017) Efficacy of Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials