The best alternative treatment for . . . Bell’s palsy:What to do instead

* Try vitamin B12 shots. One study found that patients treated with 500 mcg of injected vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin) three times a week for eight weeks made the quickest recovery compared with those taking steroids. Methylcobalamin alone also resulted in significantly better symptomatic improvements (Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol, 1995; 17: 539-44).


* Try hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy, which involves breathing pure oxygen at up to twice the normal atmospheric pressure. Complete recovery from Bell’s palsy took 22 days with HBO2 vs 34.4 days with prednisone (Undersea Hyperb Med, 1997; 24: 35-8).


* Try acupuncture. A Chinese study of 480 patients found that acupuncture with moxibustion (burning herbs at the acupoints to boost the effect of treatment) was significantly more effective than taking prednisone, vitamins B1 and B12, and dibazole, or taking this medication together with acupuncture and moxibustion (Chin Med J [Engl], 2004; 117: 1502-6).


* Try massage/chiropractic treatment. Patients who received therapeutic massage with traditional Chinese and Western medicines experienced significantly improved facial function (Hua Xi Kou Qiang Yi Xue Za Zhi, 2004; 22: 211-3). Combining high-voltage electrical muscle stimulation with chiropractic manipulation has also accelerated progress toward normal facial muscle function (J Manip Physiol Ther, 1993; 16: 347-52).

What Doctors Don't Tell You Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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