Bell’s palsy, or facial nerve palsy, is caused by facial nerve inflammation.
There are several possible causes for the development of Bell’s disease, as it is also called. Fortunately, the complaints often disappear within a few weeks to months. Only a tiny proportion of people have residual symptoms after Bell’s palsy.
In this article, I will tell you precisely what Bell’s palsy is, why a facial palsy affects this part of the face, and what treatment options there are, including self-massage. But then self-massage in a way that addresses the source of the problem.
The cause of Bell’s palsy
The facial nerve is the 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve arises from the brainstem. The facial nerve exits the skull at your temple region. Then a branch runs to your forehead, just above your eyes, and a branch to your mouth over your cheek.
The facial nerve controls all the muscles of the face on one side. In addition, the nerve innervates the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and oral cavity.
There can be several causes for the development of Bell’s palsy. The most common cause is inflammation of the nerve. However, it is not known what causes this inflammation. Lyme disease can also cause Bell’s palsy. It is, therefore, good to have yourself tested for this if you have Bell’s palsy.
The symptoms of Bell’s palsy
The most recognizable symptom of Bell’s palsy is facial paralysis. Because the facial nerve controls the muscles in your face, all these muscles fail. This causes the shape to disappear from the affected side of the face.
Furthermore, the corner of your mouth droops, and you can no longer close your eye. Your eye lingers a bit and can sometimes start to water. Talking and swallowing can also be challenging. You can also have problems with tasting because the tongue no longer functions properly.
In addition, you can get issues with the ear, and the jaw region on the side of the paresis is often extra sensitive. If only the corner of your mouth drops but not your eye, you may have a stroke. Always call your doctor or hospital to be sure.
Bell’s palsy treatment with massage
The treatment often consists of anti-inflammatories to remedy the inflammation of the nerves. However, the effect of this is unclear. Recovery is often slow and can take several months. From my experience, I know that massage of the face can contribute to an acceleration of healing. In many of my patients, the paralysis completely disappeared after a few weeks.
What you need to do is massage the region on the side of the paralysis. You will find a sensitive spot around the temporomandibular joint, which is not present on the other side. This could be an irritated muscle pressing on the nerve or the inflammation of the nerve itself. When you gently massage this place, you will notice that the pain slowly decreases. Do this two times a day, every day for 5-10 minutes at a time, and the paralysis will probably be gone entirely within 4 to 6 weeks.
You can also train your facial muscles by making impressions with your face and activating all the different muscles.
As you can see, there is something you can do yourself to treat your symptoms. If you have any questions after reading this article, feel free to email me.