And It Does Not Work!
Most people that suffer from Bell’s Palsy will read about or hear about electrical stimulation for treatment of BP
The chance is that they will think of a TENS unit as viable in treating facial paralysis... And IT IS NOT.
TENS unit is for treatment of pain only, NOT to activate and strengthen muscles
The user manuals clearly say to never apply on the face ( that should be your first clue )
The size of the electrode, as with 95% of other type of electrical stimulation units, is not appropriate as it would stimulate too many muscles at once>>>> hence the risk of developing synkinesis since you would be contracting several muscles at once instead of one.
So, all in all, TENS is not a modality that has any benefits in treating BP. And possibly negative effects in reality.
DO NOT USE TENS UNIT TO TREAT BELL’S PALSY!
How do you monitor your progress with progress? How can you be sure you are improving?
Bell’s Palsy can last under two weeks, 6 weeks , several months... About 71% will recover fully, or you can be left with permanent complications
Progress can be slow and it might be difficult to remember how much progress or realize you are actually progressing.
An easy way to document this:
Use every day technology
Documenting the facial movements/expressions you struggle the most daily with will be helpful in documenting your progress, especially when you meet with a Bell’s palsy/ facial paralysis medical professionals and help them direct the treatment and focus in a specific direction.
It should be part of the daily routine when you have Bell’s Palsy.
What is the most important thing to work on when first diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy?
Take care of your eye !
The ability to close your eyelid is vital for the health of your eye and the ability to prevent any eye/ opthalmologic complications.
Make sure your eyes stay hydrated by using eye drop. Not all eye drop are the same! Make sure you inspect label.
Using an eye patch/cover ( you can buy disposable one at your pharmacy), especially at night, will help at your eye at night... as well as promote better sleep with less disturbance during the duration of your Bell’s Palsy.
If you still struggle with closing your eyes after a week, consulting with an ophthalmologist is in order as various complications can occur from the inability to blink, or lagophthalmos.
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Closing your eyes completely is vital for the health of your eye as it allows proper lubrication with tears and oil produced by glands in your eyelid
It prevents dust and debris to irritate the eyes and prevent inflammation and infection. Closing our eyelid is a reflex and protective mechanism.
A majority of people don’t find out about complications of Bell’s Palsy until, unfortunately, they are experiencing these symptoms after failing to improve correctly.
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One thing most patient don’t know is that prolonging lagophthalmos (inability to blink/close eye) can lead to synkinesis. The longer it goes on, the higher the chance to have synkinesis.
When Bell’s palsy symptoms last for more than 3, it is more likely you will regain motion with compensation, retraining facial muscles to work only with another facial muscles, instead of being able to isolate that muscles for the one function it is designed to do. It is an aberrant regeneration.
Know that treating and overcoming synkinesis is possible and treatments aimed at re-coordinating muscles exist.
To stay positive, with synkinesis, there is actually some movement and so your muscle are still viable.
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#bellspalsysmile #paralisiadebell #paralysiedebell
-Download our free E-Book “Ten Things You Need To Know To Treat Your Bell’s Palsy”
-Learn Facial exercises, stretches and massages the right way with “The Bell’s Palsy Tutorial “
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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.