Treating facial paralysis can be a complex, difficult, and trying process. The ideal treatment for facial paralysis varies based on the patient. Regardless, the process of regaining facial animation typically involves physical therapy.
How Do Facial Exercises for Bell’s Palsy Work?
Facial physical therapy involves exercises that increase muscle strength and improve facial coordination. The exercises are typically done three to four times per day. They can be completed in short sessions, with up to 30 repetitions for each exercise.
There are differences in how facial paralysis conditions affect patients’ muscles. As such, physical therapy for face exercises are tailored to a patient.
For patients dealing with Bell’s palsy, common facial physical therapy exercises include:
- Facial Stimulation: Involves massaging the nose, cheeks, chin, and other parts of the face.
- Nose and Cheek Exercises: Require patients to try to flare the nostrils, puff the cheeks, and work the muscles in the nose and cheeks.
- Mouth Exercises: Help patients regain the ability to naturally move the lips, tongue, and other areas of the mouth.
In addition to Bell’s palsy therapy exercises, facial paralysis patients may require additional treatments. To determine the best course of action to address facial paralysis symptoms, a consultation with Dr. Babak Azizzadeh of The Facial Paralysis Institute is key.
Dr. Azizzadeh is a globally recognized facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon with extensive facial paralysis treatment expertise. He and his highly trained staff can evaluate a facial paralysis patient and offer a personalized treatment recommendation. They can also recommend several techniques to improve facial animation and facial symmetry, regardless of whether a patient has had surgery and is following up with physical therapy or trying physical therapy on its own.
What to Expect During Facial Physical Therapy
At the Facial Paralysis Institute, Dr. Azizzadeh and his team guide facial paralysis patients through every step of the treatment process, including physical therapy via customized therapy sessions.
To date, Dr. Azizzadeh and his team have helped many patients regain facial muscle movement through physical therapy. Dr. Azizzadeh and his team can meet with a patient and evaluate their facial paralysis symptoms. From here, they can provide a patient with an individualized treatment program, which can include one or more physical therapy techniques.
One of the most common techniques utilized by the physical therapists at the Facial Paralysis Institute is known as neuromuscular retraining (NMR). NMR involves exercises to reteach the facial muscles to work effectively. It is important that patients take an active role in the rehabilitation of their facial muscles and follow the physical therapy plan created just for them to ensure the best-possible outcome. When guided by experts like those at the Facial Paralysis Institute, NMR can be highly effective.
Another frequently used physical therapy for face technique is manual massage, which requires a physical therapist to perform a variety of massage techniques on the facial muscles to promote facial reanimation and improve facial symmetry. Typically utilized in conjunction with NMR, manual massage can improve facial reanimation and perceptual awareness.
Learn How to Perform Facial Exercises for Bell’s Palsy
At the beginning of a physical therapy program, a physical therapist teaches a patient how to perform facial exercises for Bell’s palsy and other types of facial paralysis. The therapist works closely with the patient and ensures he or she can complete these exercises correctly. As a patient becomes more comfortable with the exercises, he or she can perform them on their own.
Facial paralysis patients are responsible for completing Bell’s palsy therapy exercises according to their physical therapist’s recommendations. In doing so, these patients can gradually improve facial muscle strength and coordination.
If facial paralysis patients experience any pain or encounter problems during a physical therapy program, they should notify their physical therapist immediately. At this point, the patient may require an alternative treatment. Or, the patient’s physical therapy plan can be modified.
Explore Physical Therapy and Other Facial Paralysis Treatment Options
For those who are interested in learning more about how physical therapy can help restore facial animation, Dr. Azizzadeh can help. He can meet with a facial paralysis patient to explore physical therapy and other treatment options.
Dr. Azizzadeh offers in-person facial paralysis patient consultations in Beverly Hills or virtual consultations via Zoom. To learn more or schedule a consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh, contact us online or call us today at (310) 340-7925.