I’m going to give you a little insight into my personal life, and an amazing observation I’ve made regarding facial paralysis.
I came down with Bell’s Palsy in March of ’08. I woke up in the morning and half of my face was drooping. I noticed early in the morning that I was slurring pretty bad. I couldn’t close one eye, I couldn’t taste or feel my breakfast… and it was falling out of my mouth as I tried to eat.
I looked up the symptoms and thought I had a stroke.
Turns out, thank God, it was only a partial paralysis of my face. Approx 75% -85% of people make a complete recovery within a couple of months, often times without medication.
I was in that 15% that didn’t completely heal. Honestly, I’ve made a great recovery, and everybody tells me I have nothing. But when doing facial movements in the mirror, I notice… big weakness still on the left side of my face. Crooked smile…
Some women have told me it made my smile sexy… hopefully they weren’t just being nice.
The same obsessive researching I do on sexual knowledge, I turned it on Bell’s Palsy.
My research findings regarding Bells Palsy, Cigarette Smoking, and Marijuana Smoking
When I first came down with Bell’s, I wanted to do everything I could to make a complete recovery.
As soon as I had the symptoms I ran over to the doctor. He diagnosed me with Bell’s Palsy and put me on an anti-viral (acyclovir) and a steroid (prednisone). I jumped on the medication as soon as it was ready.
I ate very well. I ate to recover, too. Lots of meat (protein), fair amounts of carbs, lots of fruits and vegetables.
At first I cut out all smoking (weed and cigarettes), all alcohol (even though my doctor told “Please, have a drink… you need it more than ANYONE!”), I only stuck to real light exercise without straining my face, slept as well as I could…
I looked up how smoking affected Bell’s Palsy, both cigarettes and marijuana.
Due to a lack of studies on these topics, I had to rely on anecdotal evidence, which can still give some very useful information.
I came across one girl describing her mother’s Bell’s Palsy. She said that her mother came down with it many years before, and that she barely recovered. She said that her mother smoked cigarettes every day. That was enough for me to kick that unnecessary and harmful habit.
I also read a book online written by a man with Bell’s. At the end of the book he showed his face, and it did not look like a very good recovery… throughout the entire book he mentioned smoking cigarettes during his recovery.
So, if you have Bell’s Palsy, and you want your face back, then NO SMOKING CIGARETTES.
After a few months without a complete recovery, I began to painfully accept the fact that my face may never look normal again.
I also looked for anything that would help the recovery. I visited an acupuncturist twice a week for almost a year.
I drove four hours to meet with a Neuro-Muscular Retraining expert, and learned some advanced exercises to work on the weak facial muscles and help them recover.
After about 6 or 7 months, and a moderate recovery, I became a little stressed, frustrated, depressed… and bored.
I went out with a friend to eat, and on the way home I saw she had a joint in the ash tray. I was sick of this shit, so I told her to light it up, and I took a couple of hits.
I went into my apartment, and began freaking out. I thought that was it, my face was going to stop healing because I hit the joint a couple of times.
So I began my obsessive searching. I came across a couple of very interesting posts. This one man said he rapidly recovered from long-standing nerve damage when he started smoking Marijuana.
In his words:
Has anyone here used marijuana to alleviate the side effects of nerve damage and/or nerve regeneration after damage?
Two years ago, I had a gastric bypass operation. I suffered from some post-op aneorexia, and eventually I was numb to my chest, the muscles in my feet and legs atrophed, and I completely lost use of my feet/legs. I had a Bilateral Peripheral Neuropathy/myopathy combination.
It’s a much longer story than that, but that’s the basics.
I was in a wheelchair for 6 months, then began smoking pot.
I was up walking with a walker within a month, and could walk on my own within two.
I had shown no real improvements until I started smoking the pot. I’m just curious about others who maybe HAVE been scripted for neuropathy or similar…Scientifically, how does it work for nerve regen?
Pretty amazing stuff, huh? Check out what this guy wrote:
About 6 years ago, I suffered a skiing accident that left me with nerve damage on my entire left side. I made some recovery for the next 9 months, but was really down in the dumps. At that point I made the decision to try marijuana and man was it the right decision. In the next 5 years I am on the verge of recovering my hand and my leg is almost back to where it was. Similarly, research now suggests that marijuana stimulates the production of new neurons and nerves in the brain. There have been some reports in very recent research that marijuana stimulates the growth of gross motor nerves and inhibits the growth of fine, but that is only one study so far. In the end we will see America’s approach to marijuana completely flip. At least we can hope.
My Observations regarding the Positive Effects of Marijuana on Bell’s Palsy
As I mentioned before, I began to perform these facial exercises that the neuro-muscular therapist put together for me.
I’ve had a slow but remarkable recovery since then. It’s been 20 months since I came down with Bell’s Palsy, and they say that healing stops at around 12 months…
Just today a felt a new little twitch of nerve recovery on the part of my eye right next to my nose. And each time I look in the mirror after one of these twitches, I look a little more like me.
This recovery cannot be attributed to the exercises alone. The body’s innate ability to continue healing itself is powerful as well.
And then there’s the healing power of the mighty herb, Marijuana.
When I smoke Marijuana, I have the most amazing control over my face; I perform facial movements way more complete and controlled than normal.
I also make very deep insights into the workings of my face, how the muscles work, etc. Marijuana has kept me constantly learning, understanding, and remastering my face.
There have been weekends where I wouldn’t do my facial exercises at all, and I would smoke decent amounts of Marijuana, and I’ll look in the mirror after the whole weekend, and my face looks great. I’ll have better control over it when I go to the mirror.
After these pot sessions, I’ve had people tell me, “what’d you do? You look great?” stuff like that. It’s the bud.
I wish I knew how to get some studies started on Bell’s Palsy and Marijuana. But what the hell, all I’m going to do is put this information out here, and hopefully those who need it will be able to find it.
Other Advice regarding Recovery from Bell’s Palsy:
Begin Facial Exercises
Facial exercises have been clinically proven to aid and provide a more complete recovery of Bell’s Palsy.
This one man’s face was almost completely paralyzed for a year and a half, and upon starting the exercises at that point, began a steady recovery. Up to three years later he was still improving his facial movement, and new patterns of control began to appear.
Quoted from a case study on it:
On average, voluntary movements increased from 10% to 80% (Figures 4, E-H).
In a follow up meeting two years after completing treatment, the patient and his wife felt that function continued to improve although he no longer practiced the exercises.
The patient was extremely motivated and compliant with the daily home program throughout the entire three year course of neuromuscular retraining, and was extremely pleased with the overall result.
For more information on this man’s recovery, you can view the case study here.
For more information on how to perform the facial exercises, as well as more information on the proven benefits of the exercises, visit this site.
Visit a Neuro-Muscular Retraining Expert:
Your face is your face. You only have one. In my case I had an NMR therapist a 4 hour drive away. I rented a car, and took the trip, spending the night at a hotel.
Regardless of what you have to do, you should get to an NMR. Even if you have to fly, stay at a hotel, etc. … think of the expenses and time compared to improved chances of having a complete facial recovery.
Don’t start the exercises too early, and don’t force anything.
The most important thing is to get on the medication ASAP after seeing the symptoms.
After that, rest (try and take time off from work), relax, sleep, eat, etc., but don’t try and force your face to move. These forced movements can cause synkinesis, which creates incorrect nerve connection, like closing your eye every time you smile and vice-versa,
I would say the first 6 months just dedicate to natural healing, and then jump on the exercises. Patience, patience, patience…. and faith.
You should also good understanding on synkinesis and how to prevent it from occurring.
Strange connection between emotions and healing
There’s a strange, but scientifically proven, mind-body healing connection.
Sometimes, when I’ve felt my happiest, or been really excited about something, I began to feel the little twitches of recovery.
I’ve also noticed that it is of utmost importance to learn to relax your brain. We all have stress, but you must learn to ease your brain periodically. After times of prolonged stress, my face looks like shit.
Learn to breathe deeply, close your eyes, and picture your mind just loosening up and relaxing… you may experience some recovery right there.
Never assume you fully understand how a facial movement works
I sometimes think I know exactly how a facial movement works, and I start trying to perform it a certain way. And then I recover a little more movement, and I realize that I was off.
Constantly try to “reunderstand” movements. Never assume you know exactly how they work. This will allow you to gain a better understanding.
Also, this might sound weird, but try and understand this: picture your head like a 3d grid.
These movements are not 2 dimensional, like side to side, or in to out. Some of them require dynamic movements in a couple of directions (like smiling for instance, it’s sort of like an inward pull with just the corners of your lips, mixed with a simultaneous lift of part of your cheek, leading to a kind of inwards/upwards diagonal pull). Sounds complicated but improved understanding will come with time.
Extra benefit of Bell’s Palsy Facial Exercises… The development of potent concentration
Something about sitting there and deeply concentrating on these movements. It creates a powerful concentration, which spills over to improved abilities in a number of unrelated activities.
Vitamins and Facial Massage:
There’s a friend of my family who’s a neurosurgeon. He gave me the following vitamin regimen:
- Vitamin C
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin B1
Being that he surgically works with nerves on a regular basis, I would assume he has a deep understanding of how they work, heal, what benefits them, etc.
I don’t remember the exact amounts, but I take them in fairly heavy doses. Try to learn the upper limits of some of these vitamins (most don’t really have an upper limit, except B6 I believe). And take a fair amount.
He also mentioned that massage was very good for stimulating the muscles and bringing blood to the face.
Hope all of this helps.
I will periodically add more information to this section as it comes to mind, or with any major insights.