How Physical Therapy Is Helpful In Treating Facial Paralysis

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Facial paralysis occurs naturally when the nerve which controls movement becomes inflamed on one side of the face. This condition often occurs suddenly where the degrees of facial weakness can differ. It can affect a person’s normal function, communication skills, and self-esteem, but starts to recover with time naturally.

Diagnoses of Facial Paralysis

Bell’s palsy, which you might have heard as facial paralysis, often requires diagnosis under the doctor’s observation which involves facial movements like smiling, blinking your eyes, frowning, lifting your brow, and also other movements. 

The examining doctor may further advise magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for a specific person with facial disorder or paralysis to look for more severe conditions like stroke or tumor. 

Once all the possible conditions have been ruled out after the diagnosis, Dr. Azizzadeh will likely recognize Bell’s palsy and advise treatment such as physical therapy. 

However, if the person diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, he often gets several treatments like:

  • A course of steroid medication to decrease the inflammation around the nerve that controls the motion of the face. 
  • People are provided with an antiviral medication as well.
  • Physical therapy and other treatments, as well.

How Is Physical Therapy Helpful?

The physical therapist begins with your conditions, which include:

  • Reviewing your medical history.
  • If you have any previous surgery or health conditions
  • Reviewing your current symptoms, conditions, and what makes them better or worse.

Secondly, he will examine the physical condition, paying more attention to symptoms of weakness that are originated by Bell’s palsy:

  • Drooping of the eye.
  • Lifting of the eyebrow.
  • Ability to speak properly.
  • Ability to move lips properly.
  • Raising upper lip or lower lip.
  • Other facial movements.

Physical therapist commonly uses these three approaches:

Neuromuscular Retraining

NMR typically involves the use of critical exercises to synchronize the brain to coordinate the facial muscles more efficiently.

NMR educates and helps facial paralysis patients about which muscles need to move various parts of the face. This type of technique encourages a patient’s brain to re-function facial muscles that help in facial movements. 

Manual Massage

This therapy involves different manual massage techniques which may initially be performed by a physical therapist. But, later on, the therapist will teach the patient every technique so that he/she can perform them efficiently at home. This technique, if done regularly helps to reduce the tightness of facial muscle and enhance flexibility. 

Facial Muscular Retraining

This retraining technique is more about optimizing the results of facial paralysis treatment. It allows the patient to re-develop the facial muscles to make symmetrical facial expressions. 


Above facial muscle retraining and different massages helps the patient a lot; however, each patient’s condition is different, so he may need a different set of treatments. Moreover, manual massages involve your contribution too. That is why it is necessary for the physical therapist to teach you techniques that you can pursue at your home. 

The most important is to protect your eye. The inability to blink your eyes can make the eye prone to wastes and dryness. Waste can harm the cornea (the front part of the eye that covers the iris and pupil), and that can permanently affect your vision. Thus, your physical therapist will consider giving you:

Commercial and Self-made patches and will Set a proper schedule for refreshing eye fluids. He will also teach you- how to manage your routine functions, how to protect your eye and face; he will describe the expected way to recovery. This way, you will know the signs of improvement. 




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