Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s Palsy is defined as an acute, idiopathic, commonly unilateral, peripheral facial paralysis. Pain behind the ear on the affected side is among the symptoms. Half of the patients experience pain in the mastoid process of the involved side.

Chiropractic care of a patient with vertebral subluxation and Bell’s Palsy. Alcantara, J, Plaugher, G, Van Wyngarden, DL J Manipulative Physiol Ther May 2003, Vol 26, No 4

This is the case of a 49-year-old woman with a medical diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy. She suffered from right facial paralysis, profuse right eye tearing, hypersensitivity to sound in both ears (phonophobia), pain in the right temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and neck pain. Her symptoms began a few months after she had dental work. She was adjusted using the Gonstead Technique for vertebral and occipital subluxations. Her left TMJ was also adjusted. Her symptoms continued to resolve during the 6 months of care.

Parkinson’s disease, Meniere’s syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia and Bell’s Palsy: one cause, one correction. Burcon, MT, Dynamic Chiropractic, May 19, 2003 pp. 34, 41-44, 48.

The author found the same spinal subluxation (C-1 posterior) “Causing the head to project forward” and eliminate the cervical curve in: 16 Meniere’s syndrome, two Parkinson’s disease, two trigeminal neuralgia and two Bell’s palsy patients. The author hypothesizes that the atlas subluxation interfered with the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) causing excessive pressure in the brain and affecting midbrain function. He writes “This subluxation appears to be associated with cervical trauma.”

Case histories of a sample of patients are given. The author writes: “When the atlas returns to [normal position], the spinal cord relaxes…All 22 patients improved dramatically after one or two adjustments under cervical specific chiropractic care. ”

Bell’s Palsy and the upper cervical spine. Kessinger R, Boneva D. CRJ Vol. Vl, No. 2, Fall 1999.

This is a case study of two patients presenting with Bell’s palsy and receiving upper cervical specific chiropractic care.

The first patient was a 39 year old truck driver who had the palsy for two weeks. The right side of his face was paralyzed and he could not close his right eye. He had received a manipulative procedure from a neurologist one day following the onset of the condition with no improvement. The second case is that of a 16 year old female seen one day after the onset. She had facial paralysis on the right side and was unable to close her right eye.

Both patients received upper cervical specific care and returned to normal.

Bells’ Palsy, A chiropractic case study. Shara K, Sacro-occipital Resource Society International Vol. 11 No. 2, May 1999. (originally published in the Kansas Chiropractic Association Journal – no date given).

A 40-year-old white male with right facial paralysis of 2 days duration. Prior to the paralysis he had been experiencing “tingling” sensations at C7/T1 and had been fighting a sinus infection for two weeks. Patient also had right facial numbness, inability to smile on affected side and inability to eat on the affected side.

Patient was adjusted SOT (sacral occipital technique) with pelvic blocks, cranial work and cervical adjustment. By 3rd visit, (2 days later) up to 75% of sensation in the face had returned and by day 7 he showed complete recovery.

A five year old boy with Bell’s Palsy. International Chiropractic Pediatric Association Newsletter September/October 1997

A five year old boy fell from his bike and within one week had symptoms of Bell’s Palsy. He was unable to close his right eye or wrinkle his brow. He was brought to a neurologist who told the parents it would be 4 or 5 months recovery time.

Chiropractic examination revealed a right lateral atlas (C-1) and the child was adjusted once per week for three weeks at which time has was 90% improved.

Chiropractic management of a patient with Bell’s Palsy. Alacantara J, Plaugher G, Van Wyngarden DL. International Journal of Chiropractic Vol. 9, No. 2 1997 (Official publication of the Gonstead Clinical Studies Society )

This is the case of a 49-year-old female with a medical diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy with right facial paralysis, the inability to close her right eye, extreme bilateral ear sensitivity to sound, pain in the right TMJ and neck pain.

Patient could not raise her right eyebrow, close her eye, show her upper teeth, smile, and frown or puff her cheeks. Symptoms began ten days after a series of dental treatments for crowns on her right molars.

Chiropractic care: The patient was seen 37 times over a period of 6 months. Her left TMJ as well as thoracic and lumbar vertebrae was adjusted. She experienced symptomatic relief in the cervical and facial regions after one week of care; within four months her right facial pain abated, she could close her right eye lightly, smile, move her eyebrows and puff her cheeks.

Comment from Dr. Koren: There was not a complete recovery for this patient. The history of such dramatic symptoms appearing so soon after dental work would lead me to believe that at least part of her problem was improper fitting of the crowns. In addition to spinal analysis and adjustment this patient should have been sent to a structural dentist for evaluation.

Treatment of facial muscles affected by Bell’s Palsy with high-voltage electrical muscle stimulation. Shrode, LW. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 1993; 16:347-352.

“Patients were treated with high-voltage pulsed galvanic current…spinal fixations were mobilized using chiropractic manipulation.” Positive results were reported.

Comment from Dr. Koren: This article discussed the electrical therapy in great detail while briefly mentioning adjusting (“manipulating”) the spine

Treatment of Bell’s Palsy by mechanical force, manually assisted chiropractic adjusting and high voltage electrotherapy. Frach, JP, Ostenbauer PJ, Fuhr AW, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 1992;15:596-8.

This article discusses two cases of Bell’s palsy.

The first case is that of an 18-year-old female with left-sided Bell’s palsy of 10 days duration. She was 3 months pregnant and noted that the condition started within a few days of cold symptoms. She had improvement within 3 days after the first adjustment and was dismissed as symptom-free after a total of five adjustments.

The second case is of a 37-year-old male with right sided Bell’s palsy of approximately 25 days duration, along with moderate low back pain which began two weeks prior to onset of the facial paralysis. The patient was experiencing considerable pain behind the right ear, temporomandibular joint syndrome, neck pain, headaches and sensitivity to cold weather exposure.

After nine adjustments patient reported about 60-70% improvement.

Idiopathic facial paralysis: mechanism, diagnosis and conservative management. Palmieri NF. Chiro Technique 1990; Nov: 182-187.

“Treatment consisted of mechanical force, manually assisted chiropractic adjusting, high voltage therapy and self-administered facial muscle exercises.”

Positive results were reported.

Comment from Dr. Koren: This article discussed the electrical therapy in great detail while briefly mentioning adjusting (“manipulating”) the spine. Sad.

Chiropractic and pregnancy, a partnership for the future. Fallon J. ICA Review Nov/Dec 1990. pp. 39-42.

Neurological conditions associated with subluxation in pregnancy: brachia neuralgia, compression of the brachial plexus causing tingling and numbness in the shoulder and arm; neuralgia, paraesthesia, compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve causing pain and paraesthesia of the thigh; intercostal neuralgia, compression of the intercostal nerves causing radiating pain between the ribs; sciatic neuralgia, compression of lumbar plexus causing pain of the pelvic region and/or radiating down leg; coccydynia, pain at site of coccyx; separation of the symphysis pubis, causing pain at the symphysis pubis and SI joint; carpal tunnel syndrome, compression of median nerve; Bell’s Palsy, compression of CN VII causing paralysis of facial muscles; traumatic neuritis, motor and sensory deficits of L5, S1 and S2 after labor.

Evaluation of a treatment plan for Bell’s Palsy; a case report. Leuke CH, Johnson BW. ICA Rev. 1988; Sept/Oct: 46-47.

A forty year old female with neck pain and Bell’s Palsy on the left side of the face: sensitivity to light in the left eye, drooping musculature on the left side of the face, sinus pain, neck pain.

“After three weeks of adjustments her cervical pain and Bell’s Palsy were alleviated.

Copyright 2004 Koren Publications, Inc. & Tedd Koren, D.C.

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