As a healthcare provider that has worked and helped Bell's palsy patients for the past 18 years, I can't say I am surprised anymore when a patient or prospective patient mentions they feel lost, alone... Feel like they have not been given much guidance besides, and even not always, been prescribed steroids and antivirals....
They mention how they don't know what they should be doing to work on improving their condition. Should they take vitamin? Should they have massage? Should they use electrical stimulation? Should they continue exercise? Can they continue jogging? Should they just rest, and lie down for the next months crossing their fingers their face will start moving again?
It also continues to surprise me that there is generally a lack of follow-up following the initial doctor visit and being prescribed the meds... Sometimes by a doctor you will never see or talk to again ( in an Emergency or Urgent care setting).
The Bell's palsy patient is generally asked to follow-up with their general practitioner if they don't see an improvement in 3,4,5,6,7,8 weeks. The thought of just waiting even 3 weeks with half your face not moving nor responding is frightening! And to be honest, who wants to do that?
I often work with patient that have not seen a change in all these amount of weeks... Just because they were not told nor guided to do anything better initially by their physicians.
It comes down to proactivity at this point. And finding out what you can do...Because they is something you can do. and should do.
Letting muscles and facial nerve being unused, not contracted nor activated is a sure recipe for lasting problems and potentially lifelong facial symptoms... Only because your muscles will atrophy and your nerve will not heal right if it is not fired during all this week. This is what I have observed consistently over my career.
I have also seen patients take it upon themselves to try various modalities of treatment... and they ended up complicating their healing and situation. One common example of this is with the use of a Tens unit.... Which you should never use to address Bell's palsy. I made a short video on this topic:
I decided to compile a guide that answer all the most common questions someone has when diagnosed with Bell's palsy. And it is available to anyone today.... For free....
Just click on the button below to receive it in your email box in just a few minutes.
If you want to be even more proactive and learn to treat your Bell's Palsy from home and what you can actively do, correctly, I created a tutorial:
Don't hesitate to reach out to me with any question you might have!
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.