Facial Palsy – A Chiropractor’s Experience

It has been 10 days since I received my facial palsy diagnosis from the Dutch hospital. As a chiropractor with a deep understanding of anatomy, physiology, and nervous system function, it has been a remarkable experience to personally witness the absence of proper nerve function in my face. Through this firsthand experience, I have gained valuable insights and knowledge that I am eager to share with both my patients and the world.  I hope to provide support and guidance to others who may be going through a similar situation.



What is bell’s and facial palsy?

When discussing the dissimilarities between bells and facial palsy, it is important to note that bells palsy is a specific type of facial palsy.

Facial palsy refers to the paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of the face, with various causes such as trauma, stroke, tumors, or neurological disorders. Bells palsy, on the other hand, is a condition characterized by sudden onset facial paralysis that is typically temporary, idiopathic in nature, and due to a viral infection.

Both often manifest with sudden weakness or inability to control certain facial movements like blinking or smiling on one side of the face. It can also result in other symptoms such as drooling, decreased sense of taste, and heightened sensitivity to sound in one ear. The severity and duration of symptoms can differ depending on the underlying cause.​

facial nerve palsy

SOURCE: https://neuroscience.baptisthealth.net/miami-neuroscience-institute/conditions-and-treatments/bells-palsy








































How I developed peripheral facial palsy

Here’s my story: I returned from a relaxing vacation in Slovenia with a mild cold. However, a week later, it developed into a sinus infection accompanied by a toothache. This quickly progressed to ear pain and an ear infection. The pressure in my sinuses eventually led to a ruptured eardrum. I was prescribed antibiotics and strong pain medication, but they didn’t seem to provide relief because 7 days later, I began experiencing facial paralysis. It started with dryness in my eyes and then progressed to an inability to smile, close my eyes, and even drink from my morning coffee cup. The facial paralysis took me by surprise.

During the initial diagnosis, I experienced fear. I was partially deaf due to an ongoing ear infection and partially blind due to dryness and irritation caused by eye drops that kept my eyes moist. The prognosis was initially unclear, as it takes 2-4 weeks for the nerves to regenerate and several more weeks and months for the muscles to hypertrophy. The best chances of achieving full recovery involve starting steroid treatment within the first 72 hours of symptoms, and I received mine at around 48 hours.

It also took an emotional toll on me. After three weeks of constant paracetamol consumption, enduring excruciating pain, lack of exercise, and sleep deprivation, I no longer felt like myself. There was a point where I couldn’t even smile, and when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself.

I took a few days off to rest and recover. I greatly underestimated the impact of facial muscle tension, even while at rest. The simple act of staying upright and battling against gravity felt like a significant effort for my eyes and brain. I also became sensitive to noise and bright lights, making parenting and working more challenging.

Want to learn more? Read my self-care tips for acute management of a bell’s and facial palsy here.

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