Treating acute facial paralysis, either from Bell's palsy, Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, Zoster Sine Herpete, Lyme disease or a facial nerve injury is a slow and complicated process that requires expertise from a therapist, a facial specialist therapist.
See, over 98% of physiotherapists worldwide never learn nor even once treat a facial paralysis patient in their career.
It can be quite rare for a patient to be referred by a physician to physiotherapy for the rehabilitation of facial paralysis. The subtleties of the treatment require a trained eye, that knows the anatomy of the facial musculature, that knows the difference between facial muscles and common muscles in the rest of the bodies ( hint: they behave very different, and so they require a very different treatment approach).
If you are struggling with recovering from facial paralysis, it could be due to many reasons. Muscle tightness and formation of fibrosis in the soft tissue of the face result from the lack of active muscles contraction and activity. It is in my opinion an original reason for the complications that affect a significant amount of facial paralysis patients down the road when recovery from Bell's palsy is not full ( which is a high number in my opinion, 29%).
Today we will look at one mu0scle of the face in particular that is extremely important to maintain normal facial symmetry (particularly as the face regain movement), normal mouth opening, regaining a normal smile and preventing synkinesis between the eye and mouth. That little devil is called the Buccinator.
Pierre-Yves Butheau, MPT, CMP has been a physiotherapist for 19 years and has a passion for helping people move better, return from and prevent injuries, as well as improve their function and quality of life. He has a strong interest in addressing the root cause of and treating neuro-musculoskeletal conditions while educating his patients with the knowledge to manage their conditions and prevent recurrence. Pierre also has a niche in treating Bell's palsy and temporomandibular joint dysfunctions.