Bell’s palsy is a form of temporary facial paralysis resulting from damage or trauma to the Facial Nerve. The Facial nerve (also called the cranial nerve 7 or CN VII) travels through a narrow, bony canal in the skull, beneath the ear, to the muscles on each side of the face.
Each facial nerve directs the muscles on one side of the face, including those that control eye blinking and closing, and facial expressions such as smiling and frowning. Additionally, the facial nerve carries nerve impulses to the tear glands, the saliva glands, and the muscles of a small bone in the middle of the ear called the stapes. The facial nerve also transmits taste sensations from the tongue.
When Bell’s Palsy occurs, the function of the facial nerve is disrupted, causing an interruption in the messages the brain sends to the facial muscles. This interruption results in facial weakness or paralysis.Bell’s palsy afflicts approximately 40,000 Americans each year. It affects men and women equally and can occur at any age, but it is less common before age 15 or after age 60.
Because the facial nerve has so many functions and is so complex, damage to the nerve or a disruption in its function can lead to many problems. Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy can vary from person to person and range in severity from mild weakness to total paralysis. Most often these symptoms, which usually begin suddenly and reach their peak within 48 hours, lead to significant facial distortion. These symptoms may include:
Typical Presentation of Bell’s
Bell’s Palsy, along with Trigeminal Neuralgia, Facial Palsy and Hemifacial Spasm belong to a group of disorders called Cranial Nerve Compressive Syndrome. The current research shows a strong correlation to these disorders and prior head/neck trauma. Due to the structural relationship between the head and neck it is virtually impossible to suffer trauma to the head and for the upper cervical (upper neck) region to come out unscathed. According to Dr. Michael Burcon, a Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractor out of Michigan, more than 90% of those diagnosed with one of the Cranial Nerve Syndromes has experienced some sort of trauma to the head and/or neck. Dr. Burcon goes on to state, “Although a case study is limited in its ability to provide conclusions, this study is a typical representation of over three hundred cases researched at Burcon Chiropractic over the past ten years, where the same protocol is used for all one sided brain stem disorders, including Bell’s palsy, migraine headaches, Meniere’s syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.”
Bell’s Palsy or any Cranial Nerve Compressive Disorder can be daunting, for the both the sufferer, and the doctor. While diagnostic equipment and testing oftentimes pinpoints dysfunction; Bell’s Palsy and its solution often elude even the most persistent sufferer and doctor. The link between injury/trauma to the head/neck and Bell’s Palsy has never been as strong as it is today. The injuries can be a fall onto one’s head, a concussion, slip and fall in shower or a whiplash injury to the neck from a seemingly small rear-end accident. It’s important to note that whiplash can be experienced by any of the above traumas and not simply from a rear-end collision. Although symptoms can begin almost immediately, they can, and often do, take many years to begin. About 40% of our patients can’t initially recall any type of injury to their head/neck. After some time, they often recall the trauma to their head that preceded the onset of their Bell’s Palsy. These types of injuries often cause damage to one’s upper cervical spine (upper neck), which consists of the top two vertebrae in a person’s spine, which is more susceptible to injury than other parts of a person’s spine. Pressure on the brainstem and spinal cord can result when the neck is damaged and the top two vertebrae in a person’s neck are out of alignment -by less than a millimeter!
The goal of our office is to find the structural misalignment in the upper neck and to address it. We take a series of 6-8 digital x-rays of the upper neck to find the exact misalignment and use this as a blueprint for your custom correction that is unique to your anatomy -with no twisting, cracking or popping. Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic isn’t a cure-all but we do know that we’ve been able to help thousands of people with a wide array of issues – including Bell’s Palsy, right here in Los Angeles.
Dr. Alex Bello is a Los Angeles Upper Cervical Chiropractor and uses the Blair Upper Cervical Technique exclusively. Our Blair Clinic has helped many people find natural relief from migraines, trigeminal neuralgia and post-concussion syndrome in Los Angeles, California. We are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine. This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems.