If you are feeling confused or anxious about your diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy, learning more about the condition may provide an ease of mind. Understanding this condition and the benefits of physical therapy can help patients adjust and recover from facial paralysis.
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
- 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 single 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. At Long Island Physical Therapy, Our physical therapist can also show you how to manage daily functions with 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. Your Physical Therapist at Long Island Physical Therapy 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.
Contact Long Island Physical Therapy today!
At Long Island Physical Therapy, our physical therapist is here to help you improve your daily function with Bell’s Palsy and move towards recovery. Let’s get your smile back with us.
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