BELL’S PALSY (Tic Douloureux – Trigeminal Nuralgia)

Bell’s palsy is a form of facial paralysis resulting from damage to the 7th (facial) cranial nerve. It is typically a self-limiting process which is not life-threatening. It typically improves in 4-6 months and almost always by 12 months.

This nerve disorder afflicts approximately 40,000 Americans each year. It can strike almost anyone at any age; however, it disproportionately attacks pregnant women and people who have diabetes, influenza, a cold, or some other upper respiratory ailment. In addition to one-sided facial paralysis with possible inability to close the eye, symptoms of Bell’s palsy may include pain, tearing, drooling, hypersensitivity to sound in the affected ear, and impairment of taste. Researchers in Japan recently identified the common cold sore virus, herpes simplex, as the likely cause of most cases of Bell’s palsy.

Incidence

This is a prevalent condition with an incidence ranging from 8 to 240 per 100,000. There is no statistical difference between men and women though some studies show the highest incidence to be in 20-35 year olds. Both sides of the face are equally involved. Recurrent symptoms occur is < 10% of patients. It is bilateral in less than 1%. A positive family history is found in 2-14%.

Etiology

The cause of idiopathic Bell’s Palsy is felt to be a sensory ganglionitis of the central nervous system with a secondary muscle palsy. The muscle paralysis is caused by inflammation and autoimmune demyelination instead of ischemic compression.

The most common cause of facial weakness which comes on suddenly is referred to as “Bell’s palsy.” This disorder is probably due to the body’s response to a virus: in reaction to the virus the facial nerve within the ear (temporal) bone swells, and this pressure on the nerve in the bony canal damages it.

Prognosis

The prognosis is typically good with 86% of patients having a complete recovery.

Risk factors for incomplete recovery:

* Age over 55 years
* Hypertension
* Complete facial weakness
* Pain other than ear pain
* Changes in tearing

Pre-Disposing Factors:

a. Viral infection of the facial nerve.

b. Trauma.

c. Inflammation and swelling of the facial nerve, or one of the cranial nerves.

Dietary Suggestions:

a. Eliminate all hydrogenated fats and oils. The only oils you should eat are extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and fish oils.

b. Sip 1 mouthful of filtered water every 30 minutes while awake.

c. Eliminate all refined carbohydrates and caffeine containing foods such as cola, coffee, tea and chocolate.

d. Increase raw vegetables and good quality protein such as fish.

e. Eliminate all mucous producing foods such as dairy products, gluten containing grains, gelatin and citrus, except lemons.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS

Primary Nutrients:

1. BIO-IMMUNOZYME FORTE – 3 tablets, 3 times daily after meals. After remisssion, switch back to BIO-MULTI PLUS IRON FREE – 1 tablet, 3 times daily after meals.

2. BIO-C PLUS 1000 –  1 tablet, 3 times daily after meals.

3. M S M POWDER – 1/2 teaspoonful 2 to 4 times daily depending on the severity of symptoms. NOTE: Always take MSM with your Vitamin C.

4. BIOMEGA-3 – 4 – 5 capsules, twice daily after meals for 1 month, then 4 – 5 capsules once daily thereafter M – F of the week.

Specific Nutrients: When symptoms or condition begins to subside, gradually, as needed, wean yourself from the Specific Nutrients & stay on the Primary Nutrients. If any symptoms re-occur resume taking Specific Nutrients.

5. E-MULSION 200 – 2 capsules, once daily after a meal.

6. B12 LOZENGES – Chew and dissolve 1 tablet daily after a meal.

7. ZN-ZYME FORTE – 1 tablet, 3 times daily after meals.

8. BROMELAIN PLUS CLA – 5 tablets at bedtime on empty stomach for 1 bottle.

9. 21ST CENTURY HOMEOPATHIC #4 – DETOX-VIRUS – 1 capful, 3 times daily for 1 bottle.

10. 21ST CENTURY HOMEOPATHIC #2 – LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE – 1 capful, twice daily after meals for 1 bottle.

ADDENDUM

Rehabilitation

Patients with permanent facial paralysis may be rehabilitated through a variety of surgical procedures including eyelid weights or springs, muscle transfers and nerve substitutions. Some patients may benefit from a special form of physical therapy called facial retraining. Other medical treatments for complications of facial paralysis including excessive motion of the face or muscle spasm may involve surgical division of overactive muscles or weakening them by chemical injection. If these procedures are needed, your physician will discuss them with you.

Conclusion

Disorders of the facial nerve, including paralysis, are not rare and have a variety of causes. The appropriate diagnosis and treatment are very important to achieving the best possible recovery of facial nerve function. Even patients with permanent facial nerve injury can be helped by some surgical procedures designed to improve facial function.

LINKS:

Bell’s Palsy Resources

Bell’s Palsy Network