Facial palsy refers to the weakness of facial muscles, resulting from temporary or permanent nerve damage. This affects the movements and functions to a great extent. However, physical therapy can help to a great extent. This article deals with the most effective exercises for facial palsy.
Exercises For Facial Palsy
When the facial nerve does not function properly, it fails to give a signal to the muscles of the face to function properly. This leads to paralysis of one side or both the sides of the face. In facial paralysis, the movement of the eyes and the mouth is also affected. Physical therapy and exercises for facial palsy can help a great deal. Knowing the underlying the cause of facial palsy is important.
There are various reasons that lead to facial palsy the most common being the Bell’s palsy.
Few others are listed below,
- A viral infection which leads to conditions such as Bell’s palsy and Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
- A bacterial infection such as Lyme disease.
- Traumatic injuries to the brain, face, or skull.
- Neurological conditions such as Guillian-Barre’s syndrome or neurofibromatosis.
- Surgical causes
- And very rare genetic syndromes such as Moebius syndrome or CHARGE syndrome.
Before starting the exercises for facial palsy, it is very important to get familiar with your face. Getting a diagram in front of you can help you to know about the muscles and their actions. This can be helpful in performing balanced and symmetrical movements which is a key for the restoration of the face as it was before.
Before starting any exercise, you should perform simple facial massage. A massage can be done in the following ways,
- With your fingers, gently perform a circular motion starting from the corner of your mouth to the ear and down towards the jaw bone.
- Follow the same circular pattern in massaging the chin and the forehead.
- Brush the forehead in an upward direction and also the chin and the cheeks.
- While performing the exercises for facial palsy be gentle with the muscles, do not force if the muscles are not ready.
- Sniffle, wrinkle and flare the nostrils.
- Curl the lip upwards, then raise and protrude the upper lip.
- Smile showing the teeth, and then smile with mouth closed.
- With the index finger and the thumb, bring in the corners of your lips to the center. Slowly let them come back to the original position and then into a smile. Take it up to the cheekbone, by using firm pressure.
- Raise the eyebrows and hold it for 10-15 seconds. Pause and repeat.
- Wink with one eye and then with the other.
- Wide open the eyes without involving the eyebrows. Stop if any inappropriate muscle action is observed.
Exercises For Facial Palsy – Mime Therapy
This too involves effective exercises for facial palsy. It should be performed under the guidance of a licensed physical therapist to get through with the exercises properly.
- Start with massaging the face for 15 minutes. As soon as the warm-up is over, the following exercises can be performed.
- Basic movements like wrinkling, eye movement, lip pucker, and snarling can be done. The speed and intensity can be varied.
- Jaw movement involves the exercise of the mouth and eye, relaxing the lower jaw.
- Lip closure exercise involves filling up the cheek with different amount of air, along with eating and drinking exercises keeping the eyes wide open.
- Expression exercise involves, using muscles for various facial expressions.
You need patience to attain complete recovery. Most of the cases of facial paralysis resolve just by following the exercise schedule and diet modification. Never force the muscles to perform beyond they can, during any exercise. If professional help is needed never hesitate to consult a therapist. These exercises do not replace the program done under the supervision of a facial retraining therapist.
While these exercises for facial palsy are able to recover the muscles to a great extent, some may take time to heal. There are some muscles which can return to full function without any assistance. However, some cases may not show complete recovery for which further medical treatment can be sought.