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Chirpractic Care For Bell's Palsy

Bell’s Palsy is a condition that causes paralysis of the face, typically on either the left or right side but instances of both sides becoming paralyzed simultaneously have been recorded, although they are rare. People most likely to be affected by Bell’s Palsy are in the age range from 15 to 45 years old, with the majority residing in the range of ages 30 to 39. The probability for the right or left side to be affected is equal and there is no gender predominance for the disease.

It is unknown exactly what causes Bell’s Palsy. The most widely accepted theory is that it is brought about by an infection of the facial nerves. Supporters of this theory speculate that the facial nerves become blocked somehow, a phenomenon called entrapment, and fail to transmit signals to the muscles of the face. Entrapment may be caused by a lack of a protective nerve covering called an epineural sheath, and poor blood flow to the region where these nerves are located. Evidence has been gathered which shows that viral infections can cause these symptoms that lead to Bell’s Palsy. Interestingly, pregnant women and people with diabetes mellitus are more likely to be affected by Bell’s Palsy. 

Chiropractic care for Bell’s Palsy has been shown to be effective. Treatments involve mechanical force, manually-assisted chiropractic adjustment, and high voltage therapy. Because multiple areas of the spine are adjusted, it is difficult to isolate which region of the spine was linked to the recovery of facial muscle movement. Case reports show that adjustments of the cervical spine, the upper region of the spine, combined with high voltage treatment of this region may be the key to relieving the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy. The question remains if the cause of Bell’s Palsy can be linked to the cervical spine or if it just by association that adjustment to this area of the spine can bring about positive results in treatment of the disease. 

The traditional chiropractic approach is to detect and remove misalignments of the vertebrae of the spine by using manual adjustments to bring about health and prevent disease. In the case of Bell’s Palsy the exact connection between the spine and muscles of the face is unknown. Theories suggest that cranial and facial nerves have a connection to the cervical spine. Another perspective is that vascular effects, or blood pressure involvement, may be a cause of Bell’s Palsy and that adjustments of the cervical spine may beneficially change the blood pressure in certain areas of the face and bring about relief of symptoms.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Courtney Emery

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