Facial Neuromuscular Retraining/Bell’s Palsy

Facial Nerve Palsy is a condition in which the Facial Nerve (Cranial Nerve VII) is compromised and results in paralysis of the muscles of facial expression. This occurs  on one side of the face, but in rare cases it can affect both sides of the face.

Bell’s Palsy is the #1 cause facial palsy (60 – 75%). Other causes of facial palsy include Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, Lyme disease, Acoustic Neuromas/Vestibular Schwannomas, Parotid Tumours, Eclampsia/Third Trimester of pregnancy, Congenital facial palsies.

Bell’s Palsy is likely due to the herpes simplex virus, and is more common in people with diabetes, pregnant women and people over the age of 70. Eighty-Five %  of people with Bell’s Palsy get good recovery.

Facial Neuromuscular Retraining (FNR) is effective initially in the acute stage for education and prevention (eg the eye must be protected to prevent damage to the cornea), and for the 15% of people who do not recover. 

Initial appointments are 1.5 hours in length, and clients are provided with extensive education regarding Facial Nerve Palsy as well as self care strategies to improve symptoms and assist in recovery.  Follow up appointments are 1 hour in length and are for the purpose of progressing appropriate exercises to improve control  of the muscles of facial expression. Appointments are usually spaced 3 – 4 weeks apart initially, then people attend less often as they learn more self treatment strategies.