As we already know, synkinesis is a complication that develops after a long recovery from Bell’s palsy. They manifest as involuntary movements of facial muscles during speaking, smiling or blinking. Synkinesis can have a dramatic effect on one’s life, including a change in career, reduction of self-confidence and esteem, anxiety, isolation and other.
In our previous posts, we went into a more detailed explanation of what synkinesis is and what can help you to reduce it. In this article, we want to share with you our advice on what you can do at home to try to reduce synkinesis.
Relaxation is the best remedy for synkinesis
The general recommendation we can give is to try to keep your face relaxed. When your facial muscles are tensed up, synkinesis can become more pronounced. As simple as it sounds, an easy habit of relaxing your face every day can go a long way in helping you to recover after Bell’s palsy and reduce your synkinesis.
Besides relaxation, below are our suggestions you can do at home to reduce the manifestations of your synkinesis. Bear in mind that nothing can change overnight. These recommendations have to be followed daily, and you might start seeing some improvements in a few weeks. It will not bring you the same results as a proper rehabilitation program, but it can be a good start and can lead to some improvements.
What you can do to reduce synkinesis by yourself:
- Do a gentle massage of your face, daily. Massage your face, head and neck area GENTLY several times per day. Better do it on a few drops of massage oil or massage gel, so you do not pull your skin too hard. The idea is to create a habit of constant facial relaxation. In our video about acute Bell’s palsy, Alex Pashov shows how you can do this massage.
- Do not try hard to produce facial expressions. Tensing your facial muscles can make your synkinesis more pronounced. Do not force yourself into making facial movements, especially if some muscles do not respond. Keep your facial muscles soft and relaxed.
- Reduce stress as much as possible and balance your emotions. Stress can affect Bell’s palsy recovery. Constant background stress can keep your facial muscles tensed up throughout the day. This can make your synkinesis worse, as well as lead to contractures and facial pains.
- It is also good to avoid mirrors. Use mirrors when necessary, but try to avoid looking into it countless times per day to see if there are any improvements. The sooner you stop worrying and waiting for the improvements to happen, the sooner they will appear.
If you are persistent in your efforts and if you succeed to make a CONSTANT conscious facial relaxation into your habit, then within several weeks you will notice that your synkinesis are less pronounced.
These steps can also be applied if you experience the tension of facial muscles, excessive tearing or lack of tears, or most of the other complications and residuals after Bell’s palsy. If you experience facial pains and contractions the advice is very similar, with a few nuances which we cover in the next post.
– Alex Pashov
Crystal Touch Bell’s palsy clinic