Updated: Oct 26
Have you noticed that your neck and/or affected side of your face can feel tensed or even painful after Bell’s palsy? Even years after Bell’s palsy occurred?
Whether you had a fairly mild case with full recovery or you experienced the numerous possible complications, and lingering ramifications of Bell's Palsy, you may find that it will always be a little sensitive to weather extremes. And other things...
Many injuries, illnesses or traumas leave the once affected area in need of maintenance or extra care when it is stressed in some way.
Nerve Trauma Needs Tender Care
As we head into a colder, blustery time of year, take good care of you just by keeping your neck and face/head warm. The nervous system in general, let alone actual nerve trauma, tends to prefer warm and moist.
Outer clothing with hoods are an easy way to have what you need whenever you need it.
Scarves of any kind are a fine idea to keep that neck warm.
Exposure to cold and wind, naturally triggers a protective response in everyone's neck actually. Cold air triggers our nervous system, which causes our muscles to tighten up, constrict our blood vessels, and limit blood flow. This is a natural reaction of our bodies to reduce heat loss. But in turn, the poor blood flow causes muscle soreness, hence neck tension or pain.
I have noticed a direct connection from neck to face since Bell's Palsy. If my neck tightens up on the affected side, I experience tension and even slight regression in lingering facial palsy complications.
If I do not take care to release my neck when it tightens up, it persists into deeper tension, and I begin to notice slight regression in both mouth movement and eye movement.
An once I release that tension in my neck, the tension in my face relaxes!
This is why several neck therapies are included in my Foundational Roots Bell's Palsy Recovery Program.
Ancient Science Agrees
The sister science to Yoga is Ayurveda, it is one of the most ancient systems of healthcare known to man. Harmony and balance are the starting points of Ayurveda, and it sees you as a part of the environment, nature. Ayurveda is vast so I will keep it simple in addressing balancing the cold and the nervous system.
In ayurveda, the world is divided into 3 doshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha - that are vital energies or principles that underlie everything that we are. We can think of them primarily as elemental for simplicities sake. When a particular dosha is increased, it can be pacified by food, actions or environments that have the opposite qualities of its own. For instance, Vata's qualities include coldness and movement like a cold windy day.
Autumn is the classic Vata season. When Vata in the environment increases, Vata in us is likely to increase as well. Vata needs grounding and soothing to stabilize.
Signs Vata Is Imbalanced:
Tight muscles, twitches, muscle spasms and feeling clenched Tics and tremors, aches and pains here, there, and everywhere at times. Palpitations, tinnitus, difficulty sleeping, with waking, or difficulty and staying asleep. Feeling weak, fatigued, or loss of vitality. Anxiety, nervousness, panic attacks, and fear. Feeling ungrounded, spacey, scattered, overwhelmed or have a monkey mind.
Vata is the factor responsible for the functioning of the nervous system.
So the line of treatment mainly focuses on pacifying aggravated Vata dosha, bringing nourishment to the nerve cells and rejuvenating them.
You can pacify Vata by wrapping up in warm clothes, taking particular care of your head and neck, keeping indoors as much as possible and having warm, nourishing food and drinks. Vata needs stability and regulation, over stimulation is guaranteed to disturb.
Reduce or manage stress – that all encompassing word. The stress we feel puts us in a near-continual state of fight or flight, which is like a vibration or jangling of the nerves. Given that Vata controls the nervous system, it is no wonder that it gets affected by the stress.
As Vata season continues to unfold, it will become cooler, windier, drier as the leaves fall, and the ground turns brown. Take good care of you and your Bell's Palsy symptoms can and will continue to improve with the proper help. (No matter how long you have suffered)
The world of Ayurveda can be overwhelming at first glance but a basic understanding can be tremendously helpful. A good basic foundational book I recommend is Complete Auyrveda Workbook by Anna Selby.
The Neck Is The Foundation Of The Face
The platysma (which is innervated by the 7th cranial nerve) is a thin, superficial muscle on each side of the neck arising from the upper part of the shoulders, partly covering the pectoralis major and the deltoid muscles and inserts into the mouth and chin area. The platysma pulls the lower lip and corner of the mouth sideways and downwards. When all the muscle fibers of the platysma work to their maximum, this muscle effectively increases the diameter of the neck as might be seen during intense breathing of an athlete sprinting/ often missed and foundationally important!!!
Not only the Platysma is affected, but the Scalenes, the Sternocleidomastoid, and the Upper Trapezius can all exasperate symptoms of Bell's Palsy.
3 Minute Foundational Neck Strengthening For Bell's Palsy
Even if you receive upper cervical treatment in the form of adjustments you will need to rehabilitate the neck to correct and support the imbalances that are causing the misalignment in the 1st place.
My upper cervical chiropractor was astounded by my rapid improvement and ability to hold the adjustments after only 6 weeks of therapy with what he called "a messy neck". He confirmed the correlation of facial palsy treatment and upper cervical care.
He also asked me what I was doing and to share it with him. This is it folks...
For more information and therapies for Bell's Palsy: https://www.nikbalogh.com/bellspalsy