Facial Paralysis

Facial nerve paralysis is a common problem that involves the paralysis of any structures innervated by the facial nerve. The pathway of the facial nerve is long and relatively convoluted, and so there are a number of causes that may result in facial nerve paralysis.[1] The most common is Bell’s palsy, an idiopathic disease that may only be diagnosed by exclusion.

A thorough medical history and physical examination are the first steps in making a diagnosis.

Moche Culture Representation of Facial Paralysis. 300 A.D. Larco Museum Collection Lima, Peru.

During the physical examination, a distinction must first be made between paralysis and paresis (incomplete paralysis). Not surprisingly, paralysis is far more serious and requires immediate treatment. It must also be determined whether the forehead is involved in the motor defect or not. This is usually accomplished by assessing how well a patient can raise his or her eyebrows. The question is an important one because it helps determine if the lesion is in the upper motor neuron component of the facial nerve, or in its lower motor neuron component. If the mimetic muscles do not contract anymore, facial nerve surgery is indicated, for example smile surgery.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Many people suffering from both short term and long term peripheral facial paralysis, do benefit from acupuncture, Tuina and cupping therapy and the effects are long lasting as are born out by the research, some linked below. The treatments needs to be carefully diagnosed according to the theory of traditional Chinese medicine and a clear treatment plan given to the patient.


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