Q:

Do you need therapy for Bell's palsy?

A:

Quick Answer

An individual with Bell's palsy may require physical therapy, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke. The goal of physical therapy with this condition is to stimulate the affected nerve and to maintain muscle tone. Physical therapists also teach patients facial exercises to prevent muscle shrinkage.

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Full Answer

As the symptoms of Bell's palsy subside, WebMD recommends simple facial exercises to strengthen the muscles and speed recovery. These exercises include tightening and relaxing the facial muscles. Using oil or cream to massage the lips, cheeks and forehead is helpful too.

Bell's palsy is a temporary condition causing paralysis of one or both sides of the face due to damage to the nerve controlling the facial muscles. As of 2015, doctors remain uncertain as to the cause of the nerve damage, reports the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke. The condition usually peaks within 48 hours. Mild cases require no treatment, and symptoms subside in about 14 days. In more severe cases, doctors prescribe medications, including the steroid prednisone, to reduce the symptoms.

Bell's palsy affects the ability to blink or close the eye in some patients. Without blinking, the eye becomes dry and irritated. Use of eye drops helps to moisturize the affected eye. An eye patch helps to preserve moisture while sleeping, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke.

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