“Surprising Factors That May Contribute to Bell’s Palsy: Insights from Dr. Julian Sargon-Ungar”

Bell’s Palsy, a neurological condition characterized by sudden facial muscle weakness or paralysis, can be a distressing experience. Fortunately, most cases of Bell’s Palsy are temporary, with patients typically recovering within 3 to 9 months, even without medical treatment. However, recent research suggests that certain practices and factors can play a role in triggering this condition. In this article, Dr. Julian Sargon-Ungar explores some surprising practices that may contribute to Bell’s Palsy.

Inappropriate Use of Ice Packs:

Ice packs are commonly used to alleviate inflammation or injury-related discomfort. However, their misuse can potentially lead to nerve damage and inflammation, contributing to Bell’s Palsy. The facial nerve, responsible for controlling facial expressions, travels through a narrow bone canal in the skull. Excessive cold exposure from ice packs can cause nerve constriction and subsequent inflammation. To prevent this, it’s essential to use ice packs responsibly, always wrapping them in a towel and applying them for limited periods.

Ear Infections and Viral Diseases:

Certain viral diseases, such as Herpes Simplex, Lyme disease, and severe ear infections, have been linked to an increased risk of Bell’s Palsy. These conditions can induce inflammation in the structures surrounding the facial nerve, leading to the sudden onset of facial paralysis. Practicing good hygiene, considering vaccinations where available, and seeking prompt treatment for ear infections can help reduce the risk associated with viral diseases.

Diet and Nutritional Imbalances:

Emerging evidence suggests that dietary and nutritional factors may contribute to the development of Bell’s Palsy. Diets high in salt can potentially increase blood pressure, restricting blood flow to the facial nerve. Additionally, deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B12 and zinc may play a role in nervous system disorders like Bell’s Palsy. Maintaining a healthy diet, low in salt and rich in vital nutrients, is crucial. Consulting a healthcare provider about the potential need for supplements can also be beneficial.


Researchers have identified a strong correlation between smoking and the development of Bell’s Palsy. The toxins present in cigarette smoke can damage blood vessels, potentially leading to restricted blood flow to the facial nerve and subsequent inflammation. Quitting smoking through cessation programs can significantly reduce the risk of not only Bell’s Palsy but also a host of other life-threatening health problems.

Reducing the Risk of Bell’s Palsy:

Reducing the risk of Bell’s Palsy primarily involves avoiding the risk factors mentioned above. Here are some practical steps you can take:

Use of ice packs: Always use ice packs responsibly by wrapping them in a towel and avoiding prolonged application.

Viral infections: Maintain good hygiene practices, consider vaccinations when available, and seek early treatment for ear infections or suspected viral diseases.

Regular diet: Adopt a balanced and healthy diet that is low in salt and rich in essential vitamins and minerals. If you have concerns about nutritional deficiencies, consult a healthcare provider about the potential need for supplements.

Smoking: Consider enrolling in smoking cessation programs to quit smoking, as this can significantly reduce your risk of not only Bell’s Palsy but also other serious health conditions.

Conclusion: While Bell’s Palsy can be a frightening experience, it’s important to remember that most cases are temporary, and many individuals recover fully. However, being aware of potential risk factors and practicing preventive measures, as highlighted by Dr. Julian Sargon-Ungar, can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing Bell’s Palsy. Early intervention is crucial for any sudden facial weakness that may be linked to this condition, so seeking immediate medical care is always advised.