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Physiotherapy for Facial Palsy

Physiotherapy for Facial Palsy

Facial Palsy or Bell’s Palsy is a form of paralysis resulting from damage to the 7th cranial nerve. Hence, Facial Palsy is also termed as ‘7th Cranial Nerve Palsy’. The 7th nerve is a mixed nerve containing both sensory and motor components. This nerve controls the muscles of facial expression, and functions in the conveyance of taste sensations from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and oral cavity. It emerges from the brainstem between the pons and medulla.

Cause of Facial Palsy:

What exactly causes this damage to the 7th cranial nerve is unknown, as the etiology of this form of facial nerve palsy is also unknown. However, many scientists believe that a viral infection such as the common cold sore virus, herpes simplex, can be the cause of the disorder.

It is thought that the 7th cranial nerve swells and becomes inflamed in reaction to an infection, causing pressure within the Fallopian canal, the narrow ‘tunnel’ in the skull through which the facial nerve passes in a somewhat tortuous route. Due to the swelling of the nerve, it compresses against the inside of the Fallopian canal and as a result, the nerve is unable to function.

Also, during pregnancy, Bell’s Palsy is sometimes associated with pre-eclampsia, a condition that affects women at an advanced stage of pregnancy, noted by high blood pressure, swelling of the ankles and protein in the urine.

Symptoms of Facial Palsy:

Sometimes you may have a cold shortly before the symptoms show off. Although symptoms often start suddenly, and may take 2-3 days to show up. Symptoms are almost always on one side only. They do not become more severe. The face will feel stiff or pulled on one side, and may look different. Other symptoms include:

  • Drooping of the face, such as the eyelid or corner of the mouth
  • Hard to close the eye on the affected side
  • Difficulty in eating and drinking
  • Twitching or weakness of the muscles in the face
  • Problems smiling, grimacing, or making facial expressions
  • Drooling due to lack of control over the muscles of the face
  • Headache
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Dry eye or mouth
  • Sound becomes louder in one ear (hyperacusis)

Physiotherapy Treatment:

Facial nerve Palsy causes temporary partial paralysis of facial muscles. Within one year, recovery happens for nearly all patients without treatment, and many patients recover within one month. Many patients choose physiotherapy treatment to help progress their recovery. Physiotherapists usually make the patients perform various bell’s palsy facial exercises, along with electrical stimulation and manual massage.

If you or someone you know has been experiencing the symptoms of facial palsy, ensure you contact our professional physiotherapists in Edmonton. They are well equipped with essential physiotherapy techniques that can boost recovery for bell’s palsy patients.