Facial Palsy – 6 Tips to Speed Up Your Recovery

As a chiropractor who had a facial palsy, I have gained valuable insights and knowledge that I am eager to share with both my patients and the world.  I hope to provide support and guidance to others who may be going through a similar situation. You can read more about how I received my diagnosis in this blog post.

After conducting extensive research, I have found that the available information is quite limited. However, based on my knowledge of the human body, I would like to share the following top 6 recommendations.

Self-Care Tips for Acute Management of Facial Palsy

1. Rest and Relaxation Techniques to Aid Recovery

In the realm of recovery from a facial palsy, incorporating rest and relaxation techniques can play a crucial role. By implementing these techniques, individuals can effectively reduce stress levels and promote healing. One such technique that has shown promising results is meditation, which can aid in alleviating facial paralysis symptoms. Some of my favorite apps are: Calm, Headspace, and Smiling Mind.

2. Gentle Facial Exercises and Massage for Muscle Strengthening

While the muscles on one side of the face are overworked, the muscles on the other side are underworked. Massage therapy should be performed on the healthy side, while strengthening exercises should be done on the injured side.

Exercises should focus on stimulating the affected facial muscles through a series of controlled movements. These exercises aim to increase blood circulation, enhance muscle tone, and restore symmetry to the face. By consistently practicing these exercises under professional guidance, individuals can experience gradual improvement in their muscle strength and overall facial appearance.

Step 1: Start by taking a hot shower or applying a hot washcloth to your face and neck, gently massaging all the muscles. This will stimulate blood flow and improve circulation in the area, preparing your face for further treatment.

Step 2: I advise studying the anatomy of the face so that you can visualize the muscle contractions. The mind-body connection is incredibly powerful. This website provides the best explanation of muscle function with accompanying visuals.

https://www.facialpalsy.org.uk/inform/what-is-facial-palsy/

Step 3: Perform fascial cueing: It is a method of providing sensory input to the brain. Look in the mirror and actively try to engage your muscles. Gently touch the muscle with your fingers, a cotton ball, a hairbrush, tape, or simply pull at the skin. Each day, try a different combination. For instance, raise your eyebrows and then perform fascial cueing on the frontalis muscle. Once you know the muscle name and action, you can search for a photo on Google.

3. Chiropractic Care to Improve Nervous System Function

Chiropractors are trained professionals who specialize in musculoskeletal disorders, including those affecting the face and jaw. Through gentle adjustments and manipulations, chiropractic care aims to restore proper alignment and function to the affected areas.

By addressing any misalignments or imbalances in the spine and surrounding structures, chiropractors can help improve nerve function and blood circulation to the affected facial muscles. This may result in reduced inflammation and enhanced healing response.

In addition to spinal adjustments, chiropractors may also utilize other modalities such as electrical stimulation, massage therapy, exercises, and lifestyle recommendations to support overall well-being during Bell’s Palsy recovery.

Personally, I have noticed a significant change in how I hold my head, which has resulted in tension and stiffness in my neck. The tightness in the upper vertebrae can directly affect vision, balance, and proprioception. When the joint is tight, it can impair the movement of the eyes.

4. Maintaining a Healthy Diet to Support Nerve Regeneration

In the journey towards recovering from Bell’s Palsy and supporting nerve regeneration, maintaining a healthy diet plays a crucial role. The right nutrition can provide essential nutrients that aid in the healing process and promote facial paralysis recovery.  

When it comes to an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s important to steer clear of certain foods that can trigger inflammation. These typically include processed foods high in trans fats, refined sugars, and unhealthy oils. Additionally, minimizing the consumption of red meat and alcohol can also help reduce inflammation.

On the other hand, incorporating foods that have anti-inflammatory properties is key. This includes fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants such as berries, leafy greens, and colorful vegetables like bell peppers. Healthy fats from sources like olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish like salmon are also beneficial for reducing inflammation.

Additionally, incorporating omega-3 fatty acids found in sources like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel) or flaxseeds can provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Foods rich in vitamin B12 like eggs, dairy products, and lean meats are also important for nerve health.

5.  Nutritional Supplements to Enhance Healing

B vitamins, such as B6, B12, and folate, are essential for nerve health and function. They help in the production of myelin, a protective coating around nerves that aids in their regeneration. Incorporating foods rich in these vitamins, such as whole grains, leafy greens, legumes, and lean meats into your diet can provide the necessary support for nerve regeneration.

Similarly, vitamin D is important for nerve health and can aid in the recovery of damaged nerves. Sunlight exposure is one way to naturally obtain vitamin D; however, it can also be found in fortified dairy products or through supplements if necessary.

Omega fatty acids are another vital component for supporting nerve growth and repair. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that promote healthy nerve function. Foods like fatty fish (salmon, tuna), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are excellent sources of omega-3s.

6. Documentation for Objective Monitoring

One of the key advantages of documenting with home-made videos is the objectivity it brings to the process. Unlike relying solely on memory or subjective assessments, video recordings offer an unbiased perspective that can help you accurately assess your performance over time. This objective feedback enables you to make informed decisions and set realistic goals based on tangible evidence.

Perform the same movements every day at the same time.  In my home-made progress videos, I raised my eyebrows, closed my eyes, smiled, and blew a kiss.  This will have you see and feel the progress more closely.

Conclusion: Empower Yourself with Home Self-Care Practices for Bell’s Palsy Recovery

Remember, self-care should always complement professional medical care, not replace it. By working closely with a healthcare professional, you can empower yourself with the most effective and safe strategies for facial palsy recovery.

If you’re suffering from a bell’s or facial palsy in the Haarlem area, I would love to help you. My personal experience plus years of clinical expertise can assist with your recovery.

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