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How to improve your recovery from acute Bell’s palsy in seven steps.
- Don’t panic and see a doctor.
See your doctor at once and follow his/her 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.
Do not go to work for at least several days. Sleep a lot, do not do heavy physical activities. Your body needs 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 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 “Neurological Tests”
This will be your starting point in the recovery. Read our detailed post about how to make these Neurological Tests. Repeat these tests every week, so you can observe your improvements. If possible, make the EMG (electromyography) or NCS (nerve conduction study) with your doctor. 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 a gentle massage of your face
Do a very soft and comfortable massage of your face, neck and head area at least two times per day, 10-15 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.
You can also use a warm compress on the affected area (usually behind your ear), not on your face. Avoid cold compresses.
- Educate yourself about Bell’s palsy
We have created a special video with more details and explanations about what happens during Bell’s palsy and what you can expect from the recovery. It is very important to be knowledgeable. It will help you to stay calm and hopeful during your recovery. Bell’s palsy can have a very strong and negative effect on your emotions and psychological well-being. Being informed helps to avoid that.
Take a look at our Bell’s Palsy Knowledge Base, where we share valuable information about facial palsy and its recovery.
- Be patient.
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 cut lawn rule: once the grass has been cut, it will only grow back as quickly as the laws of nature allow it. In the best circumstances, our facial nerve can recovery at 1mm per day. Depending on the severity of the damage, your nerve might need to recover as much as 60mm or more, which is at least 60 days. There are no drugs that can speed this up, only a healthy state of your body can help it to recover at optimum speed.
Remember to stay positive!
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 the Neuro-Proprioceptive Rehabilitation method, without any application of plastic surgery or Botox injections.
– Alex Pashov
Crystal Touch Bell’s palsy clinic