Bell's Palsy

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Bell's Palsy

What is Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s Palsy is a temporary facial paralysis that can cause partial or complete paralysis of your face. The condition comes on suddenly, leaving patients without control of the muscles on one or both sides of their face. Bell’s Palsy rarely causes physical pain but can have an emotional toll on a patient. Facial muscle paralysis can cause disfigurement and make usually simple tasks (smiling, chewing) extremely difficult. 

Here are 5 of the most common symptoms of Bell’s Palsy:

  • Drooping of part of the face
  • Inability to close eye (or eyes)
  • Loss of taste
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty speaking

How is Bell’s Palsy Diagnosed?

Bell’s Palsy cannot be determined by a specific test. If you are experiencing symptoms of the condition, your doctor will likely ask you to do simple movements like frowning, lifting your eyebrows, or closing your eyes. A unique symptom of Bell’s Palsy is the suddenness of the condition’s onset, which may happen in a matter of hours. 

Similar to the lack of specific testing, there is not a singular cause of Bell’s Palsy. Studies have suggested that the herpes virus, pregnancy, obesity, or chronic high blood pressure may contribute to the onset of the condition.

How Can Physical Therapy Aid My Recovery?

For most patients with partial or complete facial paralysis the effects of Bell’s Palsy are temporary, often resolving within 6 months. Recovery from this condition can occur naturally. However, physical therapy can help patients regain control over their facial muscles. Our physical therapists can show you how to manage daily functions with facial paralysis. 

Physical therapy treatment for Bell’s Palsy utilizes “initiation” and “facilitation” exercises. Initiation exercises will teach you to cause facial movement, as your therapist teaches you how to position your face. These initiation exercises help trigger facial movement in the early stages of Bell’s Palsy. Facilitation exercises occur after you have been successful in initiating facial movement. Our team of therapists will design exercises to strengthen and control your facial muscles. Paired with movement exercises, these activities will help you regain the movement and coordination previously lost due to Bell’s Palsy.

Additionally, electrical stimulation and facial massage is used for specific face muscle motor points and to maintain circulation and mobility. 

Lastly, dry needling can greatly assist in restoring facial movement and function. Dry needling for Bell’s Palsy has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, remyelinate facial nerves, and boost immunity. 

Contact FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers Manassas today!

Our physical therapists are here to help you improve your daily function with Bell’s Palsy and move towards recovery as quickly as possible. Working with our physical therapists is a proactive solution for patients with Bell’s Palsy. Call our office today if you have any questions related to the treatment of Bell's Palsy.