Which nonpharmacologic therapies may be beneficial in the treatment of Bell palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis) (IFP)?

Updated: Jun 14, 2019
  • Author: Danette C Taylor, DO, MS, FACN; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

A variety of nonpharmacologic measures have been used to treat Bell palsy, including physical therapy (eg, facial exercises, [46] neuromuscular retraining [47] ) and acupuncture. [48] No adverse effects of these treatments have been reported. Reviews suggest that physical therapy may result in faster recovery and reduced sequelae, but further randomized, controlled trials are needed to confirm any benefit.

Many patients with Bell palsy may have problems with eating or drinking, swallowing difficulty (overt or unrecognized), and speech disturbances caused by muscle weakness and associated facial asymmetry. As such, occupational therapy and speech therapy assessments are recommended; treatments may contribute to improvement in clarity of speech, reduce risks associated with dysphagia, and decrease social embarassment or self-consciousness.


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