Individuals diagnosed with Bell’s palsy (which is characterized by paralysis of facial nerves, usually on one side of the face that results in a drooping effect) often have limited options when it comes to treatment. Some are medicine-based with the use of steroids and antivirals, others involve the use of electrical stimulation or low-level laser therapy (LLLT), and still others require manipulation of the body via osteopathic techniques, acupuncture, and chiropractic care to improve the function of the nerves.
So, which methods offer the most help and hope for those who are diagnosed with this particular condition? One research study suggests that it is a mixture of chiropractic care and LLLT and they have a case study to prove it.
The Case Study
Lisa M. Rubis DC, MS, outlined the details in which she had a male patient who was 40 years of age in her office after enduring paralysis on the left side of his face for a period of 10 days. He was unable to close his eye and he was suffering from excessive tearing and a burning feeling. In addition, he had difficulty making his left lip move up and noticed that he drooled when he brushed his teeth.
Previous to seeing a chiropractor, he had visited his primary physician who prescribed him steroids which didn’t seem to ease his symptoms. He was also referred to a neurologist who performed additional testing and found no issues. It was then that he sought the help of his chiropractor turned out to be a turning point in his recovery.
The chiropractor saw the patient on three separate occasions within two weeks. The first visit consisted of LLLT and cervical manipulation, after which there was a noticeable difference as the patient had wrinkling over his left forehead. The second visit occurred four days later and the patient self-reported a 70-80% improvement.
The third visit (which involved spinal manipulation only) left him fully functional and he didn’t even feel it necessary to show up for a fourth appointment. He was contacted four years after this event when he reported that he had no further problems.
Research suggests that using laser therapy alone typically takes between 14-66 sessions to see a resolution in symptoms. The addition of chiropractic appeared to hasten recovery in this case study. Future studies are needed to confirm the results of this case study, but the results do offer hope to patients searching for natural relief.
Chiropractic cervical manipulations have a range of benefits for relieving headaches caused by cervical dysfunction as well as non-specific neck pain.
Rubis L. Chiropractic management of Bell palsy with low level laser and manipulation: a case report. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2013. 12, 288-291.