Bell’s Palsy & Ramsay Hunt (Facial Paralysis)

Over the last few years, we have been seeing more and more patients with either a Ramsay Hunt or Bell’s Palsy diagnosis. Patients seek our care to assist with reversing the symptoms they have experienced. Whether it be weakness of the facial muscles or difficulty closing one eye, we try to assist as best as we can. Let us explain what these two conditions are about.

What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

Ramsay Hunt syndrome, also known as herpes zoster oticus, emerges when a shingles outbreak targets the facial nerve adjacent to one of the ears. Alongside the discomfort of the shingles rash, this syndrome can lead to facial paralysis and hearing impairment in the affected ear.

The syndrome stems from the same virus responsible for chickenpox. Even after recovering from chickenpox, the virus persists in the nerves. Years later, it may reactivate, specifically affecting the facial nerves.

Timely treatment of Ramsay Hunt syndrome is crucial to mitigate potential complications, such as enduring facial muscle weakness and deafness.

The two main signs and symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome are:

  • A painful red rash with fluid-filled blisters on, in and around one ear
  • Facial weakness or paralysis on the same side as the affected ear

Usually, the rash and the facial paralysis occur at the same time. Sometimes one can happen before the other. Other times, the rash never occurs.

If you have Ramsay Hunt syndrome, you might also experience:

  • Ear pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty closing one eye
  • A sensation of spinning or moving (vertigo)
  • A change in taste perception or loss of taste
  • Dry mouth and eyes

What is Bell’s Palsy?

Similar to Ramsay Hunt, Bell’s Palsy is emerges when the facial nerve is involved. There’s no specific test for Bell’s palsy. We will look at your face and ask you to move your facial muscles. We will ask you to close your eyes, lift your brow, show your teeth and frown, among making other movements.

Other conditions — such as a stroke, infections, Lyme disease, inflammatory conditions and tumors — can cause facial muscle weakness that mimics Bell’s palsy.

Our Treatment:

Typically, we start with a combination of facial soft tissue with heat on the neck region. Following we use a combination of facial acupuncture points to help with the nerve pain. Over the course of 6-12 weeks, we gradually start to see changes to the facial muscles. Patients often feel less eye symptoms as well as more movement in the lip regions. We take pictures throughout the treatment plan in order to monitor progress. Further to the passive treatments, we will provide a number of exercises that can be done at home to assist with nerve regeneration. Supplementation recommendations are also recommended.

If you have been diagnosed with facial paralysis (bell’s palsy or ramsay hunt) and looking for treatment options, book a consultation with us. Stay Fit for Life!

Dr. Luciano Di Loreto, HBSc., D.C

About the Author:

Dr. Luciano Di Loreto graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (2010) as a Doctor of Chiropractic and obtained a certificate in Medical Acupuncture at McMaster University (2010). At his practice located in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada (Fit for Life Wellness and Rehabilitation Centre located at 3865 Major Mackenzie Drive W., Woodbridge, Ontario., L4H 4P4), Dr. Luciano Di Loreto combines evidence-based chiropractic care with a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to health care. He is an approachable, passionate, and diligent practitioner with a focus on delivering exceptional acute, preventative, rehabilitative and supportive care for a variety conditions relating to the muscle, nerve, and bone. During his spare time, Dr. Luciano Di Loreto takes pleasure in spending time with his family and friends. He enjoys fishing and playing sports (tennis, padel and soccer).

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Dr. Luciano Di Loreto