Bell’s Palsy Massage

bells palsyBell’s palsy is a dysfunction ( usually a lesion) in the Cranial Nerve VII causing flaccid paralysis of the muscles of facial expression on the same side as the nerve lesion.

Bell’s Palsy Massage Therapy Treatment:

  • position supine, no prone – gently support opposite side of head
  • diaphragmatic breathing
  • Cool Hydro to the affected tissues
  • Local heat over muscle shortened and with TP’s (if no edema)
  • unaffected side first
  • Effleurage, Petrissage, Muscle Stripping to chest, posterior neck and shoulders
  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage if edema is present
  • Unaffected facial muscles: pressure TOWARDS the lesion from LATERAL to MIDLINE of the face
  • fingertip kneading, compressions, stroking, vibrations, short fascial spreading

affected side: Bell’s Palsy Massage Therapy Treatment Bell’s Palsy Massage Treatment

  • stimulating techniques ( vibrations, fast stroking), no dragging
  • Pressure of strokes gentle, do not drag over lesion
  • No fascial techniques
  • passive movements: therapist guides the flaccid muscles to do the following: ( as client moves the unaffected side)
  • raise affected eyebrow, bring eyebrows together
  • closing eye
  • flaring out nostrils
  • smiling with teeth showing and with mouth closed
  • making “O” shape with mouth
  • gentle ROM to TMJ and C-spine
  • facial stroking in superior and lateral direction

Considerations and Contraindications for Bell’s Palsy Massage Therapy Treatment:

  • no deep, lengthening or dragging techniques to the flaccid side
  • no extreme temperature with hydrotherapy
  • concern with eye infection
  • do not place client prone (pressure on flaccid muscles)
  • do not work from midline toward flaccid side

Signs and Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy: Bell’s Palsy Massage Therapy Treatment Bell’s Palsy Massage Treatment

• rapid onset

• unilateral weakness followed by flaccid paralysis of muscles of facial expression

On the affected side:

  • Unable to raise eyebrow, forehead can’t wrinkle
  • Incomplete closure of eye
  • Loss of blinking reflex (tearing)
  • Unable to flare nostrils
  • Unable to raise corner of mouth (whistle, pucker)

Other Bell’s Palsy Symptoms: Bell’s Palsy Massage Therapy Treatment Bell’s Palsy Massage Treatment

  • Difficulty eating, articulating sounds, holding upper lip to glass to prevent dribbling
  • decrease salivation
  • Loss of taste to anterior 2/3 of tongue
  • sagging of face and eyelid
  • facial expressions distorted (like after the dentist)
  • pain

Self Care for Bell’s Palsy: Bell’s Palsy Massage Therapy Treatment Bell’s Palsy Massage Treatment

  • relaxation techniques
  • self massage
  • passive and active movements of affected muscles. Have client do Active Free ROM – with assistance of their fingers -to flaccid muscles
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