Saturday, 14 January 2012

Bell’s palsy is a common cause for facial nerve palsy. It causes a temporary paralysis of the facial muscles of expression usually on one side of the face. However it is important that the doctor exclude other more serious causes of facial nerve palsy such as stroke, Ramsay Hunt syndrome, otitis media, tumours or trauma.

The facial nerve weakness in Bell’s palsy usually recovers within a month and some up to one year. Progress of recovery is best when treatment is commenced as early as possible. The doctor would often prescribe oral steroids within 72 hours of onset. Physiotherapy is also recommended as part of the treatment. It may consist of electrical stimulation or facial exercises, or both. The facial exercises can be performed at home whilst the electrical stimulation is done by the physiotherapist at their clinic.

The facial exercise involves doing different muscle movements to work each group of the facial muscles. Patients do not need to exert themselves and not get disheartened when there is little muscle movement when doing the exercises. These exercises should be repeated three times a day.

  • Sit relaxed in front of a mirror
  • Gently raise eyebrows, you can help the movement with your fingers
  • Draw your eyebrows together, frown
  • Wrinkle up your nose
  • Take a deep breath through your nose, try and flare nostrils
  • Gently try and move corners of mouth outwards
  • Try and keep the movement the same on each side of your face
  • You can use your fingers to help. Once in position take your fingers away and see if you can hold that smile
  • Lift one corner of the mouth …. then the other
  • Look Down
  • Gently place back of index finger on eyelid, to keep the eye closed
  • With opposite hand gently stretch eyebrow up …. working along the brow line. This will help relax the eyelid and stop it from becoming stiff.
  • Now try and gently press the eye lids together
  • Narrow eyes as if looking into the sun 
Facial exercise chart (The Bell's Palsy Association UK)


  1. Facial paralysis can be temporary or enduring. After approximately six months, most Bell’s palsy patients, for example, will get better absolutely. Stroke victims and trauma victims, though, often have to undergo Treatment for Bell's Palsy for months or even years.