Bell’s palsy: Diagnosis, Exercises, And Treatment

Facial Exercises For Bell’s palsy. What You Need To Know

Bell’s palsy is a nervous disorder that causes one side of the face to droop. Also known as Idiosympathic Facial Paralysis, Bell's palsy is characterized by muscle weakness in one side of the face owing to paralysis of the facial nerve. Bell’s palsy usually gets healed on its own nevertheless physiotherapy can expedite the recovery. Some of the most common treatments are Bell’s palsy exercises and eye exercises. Before the physio treatment, the therapist needs to do the following assessment to know the extent of the paralysis. 

  • Movement of jaw and mouth
  • Mobility of eyes and eyebrows
  • Frowning and other facial expressions
  • Smiling 
  • Lip closure and pucker etc. 

Based on the assessment, specific facial muscle exercises are recommended that help restore facial movement. 

Easy Facial Exercises For Bell’s Palsy

Facial Palsy exercises help build strength and improve the coordination of facial muscles. Here’s a list of the five best facial exercises for Bell’s palsy that you can do in the comfort of your home. 

Eyebrow Exercises

The goal of this exercise is to enhance movement in the most immobile eyebrow. Here’s how to do it. Try to raise your eyebrows. Now with your fingers gently try to raise one the droopy side of the eyebrow, stimulating upward and downward movement. Don’t force it though.

Eye Exercises

The goal of this exercise is to reduce the stiffness in eye muscles. Here’s how to do it. Gaze downward. Now close your affected eye and stretch its eyebrow using your fingers. Rub the eyelids as you stretch your eyebrows. Squinting also helps if the eyelid movement is troublesome. 

Nose and Cheeks Exercises

The goal of this exercise is to restore mobility in the nose and cheek region of the face. In this exercise, you’ll try to stimulate the movement of your nose and cheeks by scrunching your face. Also, use your fingers to mimic facial movement in the affected region. 

Nose Exercises

The goal of this exercise is to help with breathing. Try breathing with a combination of deep and slow, and strong and faster inhalation techniques. As you inhale, it will flare up your nostrils making it more flexible. You can use this technique by covering the unaffected nostril as it will make it more cause the affected nostril to work even harder.  

Mouth Exercise 

The goal of this exercise is to enhance the flexibility of muscles in the mouth region. Try smiling with your lips closed. Use your fingers in order to ensure the two extremes of your mouth remain in the same relative positions. Leave your fingers and try to hold that smile as long as you can. Repeat the exercise with each corner of the mouth unaided. 

Bell’s palsy Eye exercises

To help with slack and droopy eyes owing to Bell’s palsy, here are some of the most effective eye/eyelid exercises. 

Warmup 

Gently cleanse and massage your eyelids. This will increase blood circulation and nerve response. It also makes the muscles more flexible by reducing their stiffness.     

Resistance workout

This type of bells palsy treatment exercise helps force your eyelids to work out periodically every hour will making your eyelid muscles stronger and improving the eyelid droop. You can do the exercise by using your fingers too. As you raise your eyebrows, place a finger below the eyelids. This will create weight resistance. Do this for a few seconds. Forcible blinks and quick eyerolls also help. 

Eye patch workout 

Another great workout for the eyelids is using an eyepatch. Cover your good eye with the patch for as long as you can. This will inhibit more pressure and movement in the affected eye as you will be forced to use it more. 

Erb's Palsy Exercises For Adults

Erb’s Palsy is a medical condition that creates a weakness in the shoulder or in the arms that can often be a result of an injury during birth or later in life. While most conditions do not need medical intervention, some of them need physical therapy and exercises to heal.

How common is Bell’s Palsy How long does it last 

Although very rare (less than 1 million cases per year in India), many of the cases go unreported sans any treatment. The malady affects young adults and adults alike (15-60 years old). Bell’s palsy gives a patient’s face a droopy appearance as one-half of the face is paralyzed. Bell’s palsy can be triggered by virulent inflammations. These inflammations can temporarily sever the functions of facial nerves causing muscle weakness. Bell’s palsy usually would last several months. Although rare, it can occur more than once in some patients. About 80% of the patients recover within 3 months.  

Some of the diagnostics for Bell’s palsy are 

EMG (Electromyography) - to measure the extent of nerve activity and damage.

MRI or CT - to rule out stroke or other causes for nerve damage. 

Routine Blood Tests - are done to rule out Lyme disease or Sarcoidosis. 

Conclusion

Bell’s palsy usually improves without treatment, however proper physiotherapy and medical assistance would quicken and ease the recovery process. About 20% of the patients might not fully recover and have long-term facial paralysis. However, this can be (to some extent) avoided with immediate diagnosis and physiotherapeutic assistance. Contact your local physician immediately if you see any of the following symptoms. 

  • Chronic eye irritation
  • Difficulty closing one eyelid
  • Dehydration owing to the difficulty in swallowing and drinking 
  • Hearing loss     
  • For more info on Bell’s palsy management and care get in touch with us at PhysioTattva.