Singer Carnie Wilson revealed that she is suffering from Bell's Palsy, a nerve disorder that paralyzes muscles on one side of the face but is usually temporary. Wilson is reportedly treating her Bell's palsy with acupuncture.
"Just wanted you all 2 know that I have Bell's Palsy on lf side of face right now. Scary, unfortunate, but it goes away. A challenge! Love u."
Bell's palsy causes temporary facial paralysis as a result of damage to the facial nerves. Each facial nerve controls specific muscles on one side of the face, and damage to a facial nerve can paralyze the muscles response for actions like blinking, smiling, and frowning.
Bell's palsy can cause one side of the face to droop as a result of muscle weakness or paralysis, and other symptoms can include twitching, drooling, dryness of the eye or mouth, taste impairment, and excessive tearing.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the disorder occurs when the nerve controlling the facial muscles is swollen, inflamed, or compressed. It's unclear what causes this damage, though most scientists believe that viral infections like meningitis or herpes simplex are responsible.
Bell's palsy affects about 40,000 Americans every year, and can affect men and women of any age.
The disorder typically appears suddenly and resolves on its own within two weeks, though severe cases may require medications like the steroid prednisone. Analgesics like aspirin and ibuprofen can reduce pain. Physical therapy and facial massage may also help treat Bell's palsy.
Carnie Wilson, formerly of the pop group Wilson Phillips, announced on Twitter that she is treating her Bell's Palsy with acupuncture:
"Ps Who believes in Acupuncture? I'm treating my Bell's Palsy with it. IT'S WORKING."
The NIH lists acupuncture among several helpful alternative treatments for Bell's palsy, including relaxation techniques, electric stimulation, biofeedback, and B vitamin therapy.
Reuters reported last month that intensive acupuncture helps patients recover from Bell's palsy. The Harvard researchers behind that study believe that the needles used in acupuncture increase blood flow to the paralyzed facial muscles, and provide more nutrition to help diminish the inflammation.
Carnie Wilson has received media coverage for her medical conditions before. The singer once weighed over 300 pounds, and has undergone several dramatic weight-loss surgeries in the past.
Wilson informed her fans this morning that she is gradually recovering from the disorder after her Bell's palsy acupuncture treatment:
"Happy SPD everyone. Getting better every day. Xo"
Get more information about Bell's palsy at the NIH website.