Yohanna made contact with me as she was on her third incident of Bell’s Palsy. She wanted to know if I could help as she had heard that soft tissue therapy could be beneficial.
I was aware of Bell’s palsy but at that point had not previously worked on anyone, we decided that there was very little risk of making it worse, so after lots of research on my part we decided to give it a go.
She came for weekly 45 minute appointments over the next 3 weeks, I focused on working on the lymphatic points to facilitate drainage. The best way to heal anything is to encourage blood flow; blood carries white blood cells which facilitate repair. The more fresh blood you can get to an area the better the chance of healing.
I used a number of massage strokes and techniques, gradually increasing the pressure to stimulate the muscles, massage is not always about relaxation but can often be about stimulation to encourage activity.
Initially Yohanna found the techniques a little bit painful but as the appointments progressed the pain diminished. As you can see from the photographs so did the effects of the virus. At the point of the first photograph Yohanna could not close her right eye and her mouth was dropping on the right side and unresponsive. By the end of week three she could fully close the eye and her mouth has almost returned to normal.
Before our 4th appointment Yohanna visited the specialist looking after her. He was impressed with the results. Unfortunately soft tissue therapy is not currently available on the NHS so he is not able to prescribe it but his words were:- ‘It’s working, keep doing it’ Yohanna had gained 5mm of movement in her right eye.
As you can see from the second photograph Yohanna keeps on smiling and the smile has greatly improved over the 3 weeks. Because she has sadly had the virus twice before she is able to tell me how much quicker it has recovered this time and she believes soft tissue work has been a great help.
What is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is a condition Bell’s causes a temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles in the face. It can occur when the nerve that controls your facial muscles becomes inflamed, swollen, or compressed.
The condition causes one side of your face to droop or become stiff. You may have difficulty smiling or closing your eye on the affected side. In most cases, Bell’s palsy is usually temporary and symptoms can often go away after a few weeks.
Although Bell’s palsy can occur at any age, the condition is more common among people between ages 16 and 60. Bell’s palsy is named after the Scottish anatomist Charles Bell, who was the first to describe the condition.
What are the symptoms of Bell’s palsy?
The symptoms of Bell’s palsy can develop one to two weeks after you have a cold, ear infection, or eye infection. They usually appear abruptly, and you may notice them when you wake up in the morning or when you try to eat or drink.
Bell’s palsy is marked by a droopy appearance on one side of the face and the inability to open or close your eye on the affected side. In rare cases, Bell’s palsy may affect both sides of your face.
Other signs and symptoms of Bell’s palsy include:
- difficulty eating and drinking
- an inability to make facial expressions, such as smiling or frowning
- facial weakness
- muscle twitches in the face
- dry eye and mouth
- sensitivity to sound
- irritation of the eye on the involved side
Call your doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms. You should never self-diagnose Bell’s palsy. The symptoms can be similar to those of other serious conditions, such as a stroke or brain tumor.
Bell’s palsy occurs when the seventh cranial nerve becomes swollen or compressed, resulting in facial weakness or paralysis. The exact cause of this damage is unknown, but many medical researchers believe it’s most likely triggered by a viral infection. it can effect anyone and notable celebrity cases have included Angelina Jolie and Sylvester Stallone is believed to have suffered as a child which is why he talks slightly from one side of his mouth.
The viruses/bacteria that have been linked to the development of Bell’s palsy include:
- herpes simplex, which causes cold sores and genital herpes
- HIV, which damages the immune system
- sarcoidosis, which causes organ inflammation
- herpes zoster virus, which causes chickenpox and shingles
- Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis
- Lyme disease, which is a bacterial infection caused by infected ticks
How is Bell’s palsy treated?
In most cases, Bell’s palsy symptoms improve without treatment. However, it can take several weeks or months for the muscles in your face to regain their normal strength.
The following treatments may help in your recovery.
- corticosteroid drugs, which reduce inflammation
- antiviral or antibacterial medication, which may be prescribed if a virus or bacteria caused your Bell’s palsy
- over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, which can help relieve mild pain
- eye drops
- an eye patch (for your dry eye)
- a warm, moist towel over your face to relieve pain
- facial massage and lymphatic drainage – This is how I can help you
- physical therapy exercises to stimulate your facial muscles – this too!
The above methods can also help people who have suffered a stroke regain use of their facial muscles and soft tissue therapy can help the whole body not just the face. If you want to know if I can help you or a relative, give me a call for an informal chat and let’s see what we can do. 07980 339 864