Bells Palsy

rosadee(7)October 14, 2004

I have run across several people who have had bells palsy and still have residual side effects mainly in the eye. (The virus harbors in the eye their entire lives.) Some have permanent facial paralysis. Doctors are baffled by this virus. They think that it is the Herpes Simplex Virus (same virus that gives you the chicken pox) but they are not 100 percent sure. The face goes into paralysis supposedly because a nerve in the side of the face gets infected. The eye is frozen open and the face goes into paralysis. Steriods and an anti-viral medicine is recommended but is not very effective. The meds are given for only a short period of time (usually a month or shorter). Sometimes recovery takes a year or longer. Sometimes there is no recovery at all. Sometimes only partial recovery. Many physicians say that there is nothing that they can do. After the initial meds, they tell you to wait it out and hope. Given that the cure is very bleak, I think that some alternative and/or herbal suggestions are worth trying. Women especially have a hard time dealing with a portion of their face being distorted by this problem. What herb or herbs may be effective? How would you prepare the herb? Tea? Raw? etc.

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To add to this (and I can personally relate to the annoyance and worries associated with this syndrome), the great majority of people (85% or so) do recover completely in weeks to months. For some it takes even longer and there can be permanent problems. The steroids and antiviral meds (aimed at herpes simplex virus, the cold sore virus thought to cause most cases of Bell's*) might speed recovery in some patients, though this is controversial (and I don't think it made any difference for me). Longer-term problems that are serious quality of life issues (or complete paralysis that doesn't improve within several weeks) would be something to consult with a surgeon on to see if the benefits of surgery would outweigh the risks.

I have yet to hear of an herbal remedy.

Supplementation with B-complex vitamins (i.e. B12) is one suggestion for speeding nerve regrowth.

*There are other causes of facial nerve paralysis in a small number of instances, such as Lyme disease or even more rarely, a tumor.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2004 at 10:19PM
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Greenbelle(z4 NE)

Very interesting... I also have a friend with Bells, and he has suffered for many years. Having recurrances about once or twice a year, and still very noticable with lack of sleep.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 9:37PM
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The lack of sleep is due to a feeling that the electrolites in the brain are constantly active not working normally. The virus often prevents one from getting into a deep sleep and keeps the brain active most of the night. Of course, this symptom is not found in every case but it is often found in people who have long term effects or reoccurrences. A virus is a terrible thing to the human race. We are a smart people but the bugs are winning!! And as this virus continues to affect more and more people, the number of patients with long term effects increase!! Some research needs to be done for Bells Palsy (I know of none of any significance.)

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 7:02AM
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Enter Bell's palsy as a search term at this site and you'll find well over a thousand research papers on the subject.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 10:45AM
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Very Interesting information. It will take some time to read many of them. I did get 222 to come up and read 15. It is interesting that the nasal flu vaccine has been associated with the condition. Most everything I read seemed to be research papers about the treatment and condition. Suggestions were made as to a vaccination for herpes zoster and simplex one. But they are not sure what really causes the problem. And if you already have the virus it won't help that patient much. How do you kill the virus in the body, if it is the problem? Is there a research paper on that specific topic? I didn't see one. Thanks Eric for the website. I intend to use it for many other subjects.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 12:12PM
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We have been applying different aromatics(essential oils) topically as well as inhalents with great success. With a little investigation you will find a possible solution. Try looking into lavendar and tea tree. Just a suggestion.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2004 at 10:32AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I just read that acupuncture can help relieve it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 5:11PM
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Unfortunately, there is zero good evidence to show that acupuncture is of any use in treating Bell's palsy (the link is to a comprehensive review of the scientific literature by the independent Cochrane organization).

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 10:25AM
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acupuncture is super effective for bell's palsy, a family member used this treatment for it very successfully....while his doctor had little to offer him the acupuncture resolved the issue completely, it's never returned. that's been about 15 years ago now.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 5:40PM
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The natural history of Bell's palsy is for it to resolve and not recur, with or without treatment.

That happened in my case. I had mainstream drug treatment (which has not been convincingly shown to improve the disease course in most people, and which I do not credit for the improvement).

Scattered anecdotes aside, acupuncture doesn't have any better outcome against Bell's palsy. It has a decidedly mixed record in treating pain; in most situations acupuncture has been shown to be no better than placebo.

This post was edited by eric_oh on Sun, Apr 27, 14 at 10:40

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:37AM
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I have nothing technical to offer in regards to treatments --- just my personal experience while witnessing a coworker that was stricken with this condition which has stolen her vitality and confidence as its paralysis effects continue to this day, 1.5 yrs later with half her face unable to move. My heart goes out to everyone that has had to endure its symptoms and recurring issues.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:58AM
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spreading bad information and discouraging folks away from treatments that have proven to be efficacious is irresponsible and violates a doctor's hippocratic oath.

doctors like eric_oh are the kind of advertising for holistic medicine that money just can't buy, muchas gracias eric!

and please have your co worker contact me here, there is no reason for her to continue to suffer needlessly, i'll gladly share the resources she needs. i look forward to connecting with her....unless you choose to block her healing by refusing to share helpful resources that is. somehow, i suspect you will come up with a reason not to but i am willing to withhold judgement and let your actions tell the tale.

This post was edited by kaliaman on Sun, Apr 27, 14 at 14:04

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 11:23AM
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As someone who has suffered through this condition, I can easily understand the urge to do something that is claimed to help speed the healing process or reverse permanent nerve damage.

What I recommend people with this ailment do (before investing valuable time or money in any treatment) is to research it carefully first. The PubMed medical literature database and the Cochrane Reviews are good sources of information about both mainstream and alternative treatments. Other sites have overviews of diagnosis and treatment.

As I've previously mentioned, mainstream drug therapies are of dubious benefit for treating Bell's palsy; no value has been found for acupuncture in treating this ailment. This is a condition that (usually) gets better with time (as happened with me). Meantime, what may happen is that whatever useless drug/herb/treatment the person used falsely gets credit for the improvement. There unfortunately are limited options (i.e. surgery) which may or may not help with long-term nerve impairment. Acupuncture at this point would be throwing money down the drain.

Don't take my word for it - use those informative and trustworthy sources. Beware of those who have only anecdotes and personal attacks to offer.*

*Kali, what purpose is served by your pre-emptively deciding that another poster is likely to "block" a co-worker's healing by (heaven forbid) not taking your advice?

This post was edited by eric_oh on Sun, Apr 27, 14 at 22:12

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:09PM
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