Bell’s Palsy – a client’s recovery impresses her Doctor!

What is Bell’s palsy?

Bell’s palsy is a weakness (paralysis) that affects the muscles of the face.

Bell’s palsy is a condition that causes temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles in usually one side of the face. It is the most common cause of sudden facial paralysis.

Many people who have a Bell’s palsy at first think that they have had a stroke. This is not so. Bell’s palsy is very different to a stroke and full recovery occurs in most cases, it is named after the doctor who first described it, Scottish anatomist and surgeon Sir Charles Bell.

Who gets Bell’s palsy?

Anyone can get Bell’s palsy and it affects both men and women equally. It most commonly occurs between the ages of 15 and 60.  About 1 in 60 people have a Bell’s palsy at some stage in their life.

What causes Bell’s palsy?

It is thought that inflammation develops around the facial nerve as it passes through the skull from the brain. The inflammation may squash (compress) the nerve as it passes through the skull. The nerve then partly, or fully, stops working until the inflammation goes. If the nerve stops working, the muscles that the nerve is connected to also stop working.

The cause of the inflammation is not known

What are the symptoms of Bell’s palsy?

Weakness of the face, which is usually one-sided. The weakness normally develops quickly, over a few hours or so. You may first notice the weakness after getting up in the morning and so it may appear quite dramatic. It may gradually become worse over several days. The effects of the weakness vary, depending on whether the nerve is partially or fully affected. These include the following:

  • Your face may droop to one side. When you smile, only half of your face may move.
  • Chewing food on the affected side may be a problem. Food may become trapped between your gum and cheek. Drinks and saliva may escape from the side of your mouth.
  • You may not be able to close an eye. This may cause a watery or dry eye.
  • You may not be able to wrinkle your forehead, whistle or blow out your cheek.
  • You may have some difficulty with speech, as the muscles in the side of the face help in forming some words. For example, words beginning with a P.

Bell’s palsy often comes on suddenly, without warning, over a number of hours, peaking at 72 hours. In eight out of ten cases, it will slowly disappear over a period of weeks or months but you should always seek medical advice urgently.

Last year I was contacted by a client who had experienced a sudden onset of Bells Palsy:

“On the 29th June 2016 I had a molar tooth extracted which was quite a complicated extraction, 2 days later the socket got infected so back to the dentist I went and came out with the socket packed with antibiotic dressing and very strong antibiotic tablets to take.

On Tuesday 5th July I woke up with a funny tingly sensation around my left eye, I thought it was a reaction to the antibiotics, so back to the dentist I went again, who changed the antibiotics and says nothing is wrong! By the end of the day the whole left side of my face was semi paralysed, I couldn’t shut my eye properly, my mouth was droopy and the left side of my nose completely numb, basically the whole left side of my face was affected, but hey no wrinkles!!

I went to the doctors the next afternoon and was given a 10 day course of steroids and diagnosed with Bells Palsy, the doctor was very good and wanted to see me back after the course of steroids and advised that it would take time to recover, but couldn’t say how long recovery would take, She advised me to tape my eye shut at night and to put some drops in to keep my eye lubricated, (I wear contact lenses so this caused a few issues there, as I couldn’t wear my lenses for long as my eye was drying out as I couldn’t blink properly) I work in an opticians so this side of the problem was getting checked every 2 days for any issues.

I went for my first session of Bowen Therapy on Wednesday 13th July, the steroids had been helping to ease the symptoms but my left eye, nose and left side of my mouth were still semi-paralysed.

After the first treatment of Bowen, I would say I got about 75% movement back in my eye and mouth and was able to smile a bit better.

Indeed I returned to the Doctor on the 18th July and she was impressed with how quickly I was recovering and advised continuing with the Bowen therapy!

I had 2 further treatments the following 2 Wednesdays and after each time there was much more improvement and movement in being able to shut my eye and smile properly instead of a lopsided grin. After the 1st session of bowen I would say I was about 95 % back to normal and over the next couple of weeks everything returned to normal so I was lucky in that I was only affected for about 1 month, I think had I not had the Bowen Treatment that my recovery would have taken a lot longer than the 4 weeks it did.”

 

 

 

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