Accident Care Chiropractic logo.
Chiropractic Blog

Chiropractic Care for Bell's Palsy

Published Date: 
June 1, 2023
Young woman with Bell’s palsy clutching the side of her face.

Bell’s palsy is a condition that affects facial muscles. Although it’s rarely serious and often resolves on its own, it interferes with a person’s quality of life. There is a dramatic effect on their appearance, and they might also experience difficulty eating and drinking, smiling, talking, and sleeping.

Chiropractic adjustment is effective in improving symptoms of Bell’s palsy, often dramatically.

Understanding Bell's Palsy

Bell’s palsy causes facial weakness or paralysis. It most often occurs on the left or right side of the face, but in rare cases affects both sides. Most people experience Bell’s palsy temporarily. Improvement occurs gradually, even without treatment, in most cases. However, the condition is uncomfortable, and most people feel self-conscious about its effect on their appearance. 

Bell’s palsy has no exact cause, and anyone can be affected. It occurs at all ages and in both males and females. Many people believe it’s linked to inflammation and swelling of the facial nerves, but there is also speculation that the condition is connected to a virus or trauma. 

Middle-aged man with facial paralysis from Bell's palsy.

Symptoms of Bell's Palsy

Symptoms of Bell’s palsy include:

  • Mild to severe paralysis of the face
  • Drooping
  • Difficulty closing the eye or smiling
  • Drooling
  • Increased sensitivity
  • Pain in the jaw or behind the ear
  • Loss of taste
  • Headache
  • Changes in saliva and tear production

Chiropractic Treatments for Bell's Palsy

Although Bell’s palsy usually resolves on its own in a few weeks or months, some people opt to see a chiropractor. Chiropractic treatment for Bell’s palsy is an effective way to deal with the issue physically and emotionally. 

Chiropractor with glasses adjusting neck of young male patient.

One of the primary approaches of a chiropractor when treating Bell’s palsy is massage. Massage helps to prevent the shortening and shrinkage of paralyzed facial nerves.

Chiropractors identify the nerves in the face that are linked to paralysis. They manipulate areas of the face to restore facial movement and mobility. The goal is to ease the symptoms, especially when Bell’s palsy makes it difficult to close the eyes and mouth. Most people notice improvement after just one treatment. Chiropractic manipulation also prevents Bell’s palsy from causing further complications.

Case Studies

One of the most well-known case studies showing the positive effects of chiropractic care on Bell’s palsy was done by a chiropractor in Peoria, IL. Following successful treatment, the doctor published his findings in the December 2011 edition of the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. According to the study, a patient who’d suffered from a five-plus year bout of Bell’s palsy experienced relief of symptoms once she underwent chiropractic care. According to the case study, the patient’s symptoms improved by 90 percent.

In another case, an Asian woman in her early 50s experienced relief from facial paralysis and neck pain after chiropractic care. She’d dealt with the problem for three years following her use of a toothpick.

Doctors had previously treated her, unsuccessfully, with antiviral medication and steroids. She’d also undergone acupuncture and tried TCM, which caused only a 60 percent improvement in her symptoms. 

Her chiropractor ordered an MRI, which showed cervical spondylosis. After the evaluation, the chiropractor treated the woman with the following:

  • Cervical and thoracic spinal manipulation
  • Cervical traction
  • Soft-tissue therapy
  • Neck exercises

Within a month, the pain and paralysis resolved. She had only mild eyelid synkinesis following treatment.

That same study included information about 12 additional patients who saw improvement in their Bell’s palsy symptoms following chiropractic care. The study concluded that the trigeminal pathway likely plays a role in the positive responses, especially when Bell’s palsy occurs with facial or neck pain.

Finally, a study featured a 47-year-old woman with sinus pressure and congestion on the right side of her face due to Bell's palsy. She’d been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy in April 2004 and sought chiropractic adjustment in 2009.

Throughout treatment, the patient experienced the following:

  • Improvements in symptoms and overall health after the first visit
  • Sleeping more soundly
  • Sinus clearing and easier breathing after the third treatment 
  • Reduction in the tightness of the right side of her face 
  • Improvement in her smile by her sixth treatment
  • Continued decrease in sinus pressure and overall improvement during her 17-plus months of treatment

This study points out that because Bell’s palsy tends to resolve on its own over time, it’s important to acknowledge that the improvement in symptoms may not occur due strictly to chiropractic care. There’s also a chance improvement occurred due to a placebo effect. It concludes that chiropractors should partner with neurologists in the future to compare different forms of Bell's palsy treatments.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Bell's Palsy

The benefits of using chiropractic care to treat Bell’s palsy include the following:

  • Non-invasive
  • Drug-free
  • Promotes muscle health
  • Improves circulation
  • Removes waste products from muscles
  • Speeds healing
  • Improves overall nerve function
  • Boosts immunity
  • Reduces stress
  • Increases overall well-being
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Improves mood
  • Reduces the need for medication and/or surgery
  • Decreases inflammation

All of these things are directly or indirectly connected to Bell’s palsy. Even if the condition eventually resolves on its own, patients undergoing chiropractic treatment for Bell’s palsy enjoy faster healing and fewer complications. 

Woman having her neck adjusted by chiropractor while lying on her back.

One of the most challenging aspects of Bell’s palsy is dealing with the discomfort and anxiety caused by the condition. Chiropractic care promotes relaxation and helps people feel better about their situation as they heal.

Dr. Eric Neumann D.C.

Dr. Eric Neumann grew up in Alberta, Canada where he majored in Chemistry at the University of Calgary. During his time at University, he obtained licensure as a Massage Therapist. It was clear that hands-on healing would be his calling. After suffering multiple sport-related injuries he became interested in Chiropractic. Dr. Neumann graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in 2009. He has since specialized in the treatment and management of acute spinal injuries.

How Can We Help You?

Let’s Find a Clinic Near You!
Accident Care Chiropractic logo.

© 2024 Accident Care Chiropractic | Hablamos Español

Located in: North Portland, NE Portland, SE Portland, Gresham, Beaverton, Tigard, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Salem, South Salem, Keizer,
Clackamas, Woodburn, McMinnville, Vancouver, Hazel Dell, East Vancouver, Bend, Pasco.

We Specialize in Car Accident Treatment & Recovery

Home | About Us | Testimonials | Blog | Sitemap | Privacy Policy | Services | Locations | Contact Us

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram