“I was terrified,” said Matt Barrie. He went to bed perfectly healthy and woke with the left side of his face paralyzed from Bell’s Palsy. The only way he could close his eye was with his own fingers, so Matt started wearing an eye patch. The paralysis altered his visual appearance and he stopped working on TV. His speech was also severely impacted causing him to take a leave from his radio show. Matt sought our help when his treatment options were ineffective. As you can tell watching him on ESPN, he recovered perfectly and credits our treatments.
What exactly is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s Palsy is an acute facial nerve paralysis of unknown cause that affects one side of the patient’s face. It results in weakness facial expression muscles, pain in the ear, hypersensitivity to noise, change in taste, drooling, inability to close, or only partially close the eye, and headaches.
It is the most common facial nerve affliction. More than 40,000 people are affected by the disease in the United States each year according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Fortunately, most people recover spontaneously within three weeks. But recovery can take up to nine months. Up to 30% of patients, however, have persistent complications that include facial weakness and asymmetry, eye trauma and dryness, speech impairment, and local discomfort.
The impact of the disease can be profound. I recently treated a new mother who had Bell’s Palsy right before the birth of her adorable baby girl. She was so distressed over her altered appearance and inability to speak in a normal manner that she would not let her family take any photos or videos. She didn’t want any images that might show her symptoms. Fortunately, for Matt, this mom, and many others, acupuncture can be a very effective treatment for Bell’s Palsy.
Acupuncture is not a replacement treatment but is appropriate when used adjunctively with conventional medical care. It is a viable treatment option for Bell’s Palsy and can be effective for both acute and very chronic cases.
It works – just ask Matt.
If you’re dealing with Bell’s Palsy, give us a call at (803) 256-1000.