Don’t panic. See the doctor at once and follow his recommendations. Start with the prescribed medications as soon as you can, because the first 5-6 days after the onset are crucial for future recovery.
Take a lot of rest and sleep as much as you can. Do not go to work for at least several days. Your body needs its’ all resources to fight the cause of paralysis and to set up the regeneration process. Do not expect immediate improvements. No matter how many pills you take or which physiotherapy you do, there is no way to “switch back” or “jump-start” your facial nerve at once. The recovery comes gradually and takes at least 3-4 weeks.
Protect your affected eye from drying. Use special eye drops (artificial tears) or ointment. Patch it for the night. Wear (sun-) glasses during the day to protect the cornea from wind and dust.
Make 9 pictures of “neurological test”. This will be your starting point in the recovery. Repeat this test every week so you can observe your improvements. If possible, make the EMG (electromyography) or NCS (nerve conduction study). These tests will measure instrumentally the grade of the initial nerve damage. If repeated later, they will show your progress in the reconnection of the nerve to the facial muscles.
Do the GENTLE massage of your face, neck and head area several times per day. Take 5-7 minutes each time. Apply a few drops of massage oil on your face, so you do not pull the skin too hard. The massage will improve the blood and lymph circulation, which increases the speed of nerve regeneration.
Don’t be discouraged by the slow progress. If the nerve damage had been severe (especially if caused by the herpes virus), it may take as long as 2-3 months before you see the first movements. Remember the moved lawn rule: once the grass has been cut, it will only grow back as quickly as the laws of nature allow it.
Do not be afraid of the future. If the full spontaneous recovery did not occur within 3-5 weeks, there is a chance that within 2-4 months you develop some of the long-standing Bell’s palsy complications: synkinesis, facial asymmetry during speech and emotions, tightness of facial muscles, facial pain and fatigue. They all can be reversed by Neuro-Proprioceptive Rehabilitation method, without any application of plastic surgery or Botox injections.
Watch the video that explains in more detail what you should do, should not do and what you can expect during the acute Bell’s palsy. You can also learn more about Bell’s palsy in our Bell’s Palsy Knowledge Base.
– Alex Pashov
Crystal Touch Bell’s palsy clinic