Developing Bell’s palsy can feel a bit like a practical joke. You look in the mirror, and something’s not quite right. You eat a snack, but your lips feel numb. Suddenly, you can’t blink one eye or smile. You may even get nervous, wondering if you’ve had a stroke.
Being taken off-guard by a sudden case of Bell’s palsy is normal. Still, seeing an unfamiliar face in the mirror is troubling and you just want to get back to normal – fast!
If you’ve struggled to reverse your Bell’s palsy, know this: you have options!
Acupuncture is a go-to therapy for issues like nerve pain and Bell’s palsy in Asia, but it’s not as common here in the US. Wellnest Denver is changing that! We’ve seen how effective acupuncture and Chinese medicine is for treating Bell’s palsy, and we’re here to help to recover, too.
With acupuncture, we’ll stimulate your body’s natural power to heal and help you smile, talk, and eat like normal again. Let’s learn how!
What Is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is weakness and paralysis in the facial muscles that lead to a drooping appearance. It can appear suddenly or overnight and often goes away within a few weeks. In some cases, however, it lasts months or years.
What are the Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy?
The most apparent symptom of Bell’s Palsy is a drooping or stiffness of one side of the face. As a result, it can be difficult to smile, talk, close your eyes, or eat with the affected side of the face.
- Weakness or paralysis of facial muscles
- Drooping on one side of the face
- Difficulty eating and drinking
- Difficulty making facial expressions
- Muscles twitches in the face
- Dry eye or mouth
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Partial loss of taste
Who is at risk for getting Bell’s Palsy?
Anyone can develop Bell’s palsy, but it tends to occur mainly between the ages of 16 and 60. You may have a higher likelihood of developing Bell’s palsy if you are pregnant, have diabetes, have a lung infection, have a family history of the condition, or suffer frequent ear or eye infections.
What Causes Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy occurs when the nerve that controls your facial muscles (the seventh cranial nerve) becomes swollen, inflamed, or compressed. This could happen after an infection, such as a cold, ear infection, shingles, Lyme disease, herpes simplex, or other infections.
In rare cases, there could be a more significant problem at the root of facial paralysis. Conditions like strokes or brain tumors have been known to cause similar symptoms to Bell’s palsy. That’s why it is essential to call your doctor immediately if you notice facial drooping. Once they rule out any severe conditions, you can safely use acupuncture to reverse the paralysis.
What are the treatment options for Bell’s Palsy?
Most cases of Bell’s palsy subside after the infection heals. If it lingers, there are few options within Western medicine to help. Steroids and antivirals can reduce inflammation but often come with side effects. Other over-the-counter pain medications can help reduce facial pain temporarily.
A more holistic treatment option is acupuncture therapy for bell’s palsy. Rather than mask the symptoms, acupuncture naturally relieves pain, inflammation, and nerve dysfunction by getting to the root of the problem.
How Does Acupuncture Help with Bell’s Palsy?
Acupuncture is one of the best natural therapies for nerve pain, stiffness, swelling, inflammation, loss of muscle function – all the symptoms that come with Bell’s palsy!
In Chinese medicine, Bell’s palsy is considered a “blockage” in the flow of energy through the acupuncture channels of the face. This blockage prevents qi and blood from getting to the muscles and nerves, making the face stiff and unable to move.
While Bell’s palsy is often brought on by a viral infection (or “external wind” in Chinese medicine terms), Chinese medicine goes deeper. We also look at any potential underlying issues that may have made you more susceptible to this “attack” (such as exhaustion or a weak immune system). Excessive stress, traumatic events, or chronic illness are common hidden culprits.
Acupuncture works for Bell’s palsy by both re-establishing healthy circulation and nerve function, as well as addressing those underlying causes. Other Chinese medicine therapies (like moxibustion, massage, and herbal medicine) can also help to encourage faster healing.
When it comes to getting acupuncture treatment for Bell’s palsy, the sooner the better! We see the fastest results when you start treatment within the first week of developing Bell’s palsy and start on a consistent treatment plan.
Acupuncture and Bell’s Palsy: What Does the Research Say?
With so many successful cases of acupuncture and Bell’s palsy, scientists have been eager to find out if it really works. Here’s what they’ve found:
According to one systematic review, acupuncture is “associated with an increased cure rate and total effective rate of the treatment of Bell’s palsy in comparison with drugs.” Translation: acupuncture works just as well as – if not better than! – drugs to treat Bell’s palsy.
Other studies show that acupuncture is a safe, natural treatment option that offers significant improvements in Bell’s palsy recovery.
Treating Bell’s Palsy with Acupuncture
At Wellnest Denver Acupuncture, we take a holistic approach to helping you get your smile back. Here’s what you can expect when you walk through our doors:
Expert Facial Acupuncture
Facial acupuncture, or cosmetic acupuncture, is the base of our Bell’s palsy acupuncture treatments. We use specialized techniques to stimulate the acupuncture channels of the face, reduce inflammation, and restore your facial movements and control.
E-Stim and Bell’s Palsy
In addition to traditional facial acupuncture, we also use E-stim, or electrical stimulation, to get the best results with our Bell’s palsy treatments. E-stim gently “supercharges” the acupuncture treatment by attaching tiny electrodes to strategic acupuncture needles. E-stim is particularly effective for conditions relating to nerve issues or loss of function, as we see with Bell’s palsy.
There are several ways you can encourage faster healing right at home. We’ll send you home with tailored tips, facial exercises, and self-care exercises to restore your smile as soon as possible.
In the meantime, try to avoid standing outside in the wind or near a fan or air conditioner. Eat a balanced diet and get plenty of sleep. Use a warm towel over the face to relieve pain and encourage circulation. Give yourself a gentle face massage to stimulate your facial muscles and ease stress.
Bell’s Palsy Acupuncture in Denver
Are you looking for Bell’s palsy acupuncture in Denver? If so, we’d love to help you look and feel like your old self again!
Wellnest Denver is a specialty acupuncture clinic with expert training in facial acupuncture. Our focused treatments are designed to help restore movement and control over your facial muscles as soon as possible so you can get back to living a normal, healthy life.
But – we don’t stop there. We want to make sure your body is balanced and resilient. We’ll help you make the best choices for your health so that this paralysis doesn’t happen again.
When it comes to Bell’s palsy, time is of the essence! Don’t delay your recovery – schedule your acupuncture appointment today.
Have questions about your treatment? Send us a message, and we’ll help you make sure acupuncture is the right next step for you.