Acupuncture for Bell's palsy?: I'm new here... - Facial Palsy UK

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Acupuncture for Bell's palsy?

Teacherj profile image

I'm new here, diagnosed with Bell's palsy 13 days ago and still reeling. Have had the steroids and eye care advice, but now worried that acupuncture I had yesterday was too vigorous ( she did very firm massage too), and may have caused more damage. Also, my GP clearly knows nothing about the condition and actually laughed when I asked about facial therapy. I'm in Cornwall..does anyone know if it is available on the NHS. Am struggling with sleep and pain in ear, neck and face. Any advice and thoughts gratefully received. Thanks

9 Replies

You'll most likely recover just fine! My best advice is B12, and to rest as much as possible! I made the mistake of continuing to push myself and my recovery and still fear that I caused the synkinesis. Everything I've read does say acupuncture helps! (my mistake with that was that I allowed her to use electrodes which I later read was bad). I wouldn't worry if it was just firm massage that she did. Warm compresses can help the pain and for relaxation of the muscles. I'm in the US so can't help direct you regarding NHS, but try not to stress!!!!!

Teacherj profile image
Teacherj in reply to Reghanalex

Thanks for the reassurance, and I hope you are recovering well yourself. I've decided to try a different acupuncturist and hope she is more gentle. I'll keep pushing my GP about other therapies available.

lsully profile image
lsully in reply to Teacherj

I too had accupuncture about 2 weeks in. It was very relaxing. I don't know that it did much but I know I felt relaxed and loved when I was there. I wanted quicker results and asked for electrical stimulation and found out later that that is no longer recommended. I do have synkinesis now although it's fairly mild. I do periodically go to a massage therapist for very intensive facial massage but I didn't start that until several months on (I've had BP for a year and a half). I agree with everyone who says warm compresses ( I would lay my cheek and ear on a heating pad), ibuprophen, practice self acceptance and be patient.

Hi my experience of Acupuncture was from a Chinese Medical Practitioner who trained in Taiwan. First time I did not realise he had put the needles in. I asked him why he kept tapping my face...... My experience was that it was only after the second or third treatment when he started to twiddle the needles that I had any sensations of them being there, He did not massage my face but I have had massage treatment from him and so have neighbours, we all came away aching but all felt the benefits later. I do not like your GP's attitude I hardly consider laughing at a patient's suggestion empathetic.

In my case the Palsy was brought on by a brain tumour, either I have a high pain threshold or I never suffered pain, just the discomfort of the paralysis of my face muscles. So your symptoms and treatment will be different I got there in the end. In Chinese Medical practice they take a holistic approach analyse the whole being and tailor an individual set of treatments for each person. I still have minor symptoms but the are easily manageable. I was thinking of having more acupuncture as I found it therapeutic.

Depending on where the practitioner trained you might try the amoxil treatment. Not for the pain but for stimulating the nerves. It is rather bizarre but worked for me. If your acupuncturist is not Chinese trained they may not do it.

Importantly , I remember telling him that my face had started to feel numb. He pointed out that was the first step - moving from feeling nothing to a feeling of numbness. So perhaps aches are indicative the nerves are still working just need woken up. Also I had the advantage of knowing the guy as a neighbour and believed in him, which is so important. Never give up, believe you are going to get better.

I devised some of my own rehabilitation techniques, I cannot say they help, but I felt I was doing something. The primary school class I worked with after I recovered never commentated on my appearance. I cannot decide if they were too polite, had not spotted anything, or that I am so odd anyway the palsy was just part of me.

However long or short is the road to recovery you have to take some steps before you know you are on the right route for you.

Be Happy - it is a struggle for us who live North of the Border.

I too started acupuncture not long after contracting BP ( 3yrs ago). GP knew nothing apart from standard anti viral & steroid. Didnt find out about resting or B12 so carried on life as normal. Acupuncturist suggested electrical stimulus which I now know made it worse and I am still left with some synkinesisi - especially when stressed. I still go to another acupuncturist (Chinese trained) and have sessions monthly. This gives me confidence that I am still fighting the invader!

Hi everyone

Thanks for your replies. Haven't replied earlier as I've been in so much pain. Saw a GP again last week who said the ear pain I was having was due to a tiny cut which had nothing to do with the paralysis or Ramsay Hunt and gave me antibiotic cream. Within 5 days blisters in and around ear and today, yes, it's Ramsay Hunt not Bell's. Too late for anti virals and no interest in referring to ENT or concern about possible hearing loss.

Told me to do my own research on facial therapies.

Am at my wits end. Anyone got any advice? I did go to another acupuncturist who was much gentler so will continue with that at least.

Janeygill profile image
Janeygill in reply to Teacherj

I took anti viral tablets four weeks after having bells palsy, as RHS was suspected, and they definitely helped. I felt so much better after taking them.

Teacherj profile image
Teacherj in reply to Janeygill

Thanks Janeygill. Encouraged by your response I finally got to talk to a GP who seemed knowledgeable, at last, and got some antivirals. So maybe they'll help. Hope you doing okay now.

There's good info on this site:

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