Facial Palsy

Facial Palsy

Facial palsy refers to weakness of the face, due to temporary or permanent damage to the nerve that supplies the facial muscles – the facial nerve (CN VII).

Facial palsy can occur as a result of the following conditions:

  • Tumours: Acoustic neuroma or facial nerve tumour, or in parotid gland and brainstem

  • Stroke

  • Traumatic brain injury, particularly with facial or skull fractures

  • Viral infections, such Bell’s palsy and Ramsay Hunt syndrome

  • Bacterial infections such as Lyme disease or following a middle ear infection

  • Neurological conditions such as Neurofibromatosis 2, or Guillain-Barré syndrome

  • Birth trauma: for example caused by forceps or facial presentation delivery

  • Congenital conditions

  • Autoimmune disorders such as sarcoidosis

  • Rare genetic syndromes such as Moebius syndrome or CHARGE syndrome

  • Vascular masses

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Common challenges:

  • Pain

  • Discomfort with moving your face

  • Synkinesis, or unwanted facial movements

  • Gross asymmetry

  • Difficulty eating and talking clearly

  • Dry or irritated eye

  • Overcompensation from the other side of the face

The role of the neurological physiotherapist in facial palsy:

Neurological physiotherapists are physiotherapists with additional training and expertise in treating problems related to the brain, spinal cord, inner ear and nerves. At Klint, we have a special interest in facial rehabilitation and are able to deliver quality care to this group of clients. It is particularly important to work on this area delicately as improper treatment can increase unwanted movement (synkinesis), spasms and pain.

We adopt careful techniques in teaching you neuromuscular retraining, which allows you to regain control and coordination of your face following injury or disease. Each client will undergo careful evaluation and assessment, to determine whether you would be appropriate for neuromuscular retraining at that particular point in time during your recovery.

What our skilled therapists can offer:

Our therapists can perform clinical tests to help guide you towards a diagnosis. These include:

  • A thorough assessment and analysis of your facial anatomy and movements

  • An explanation of the neurological recovery process in your particular case

  • Techniques to restore tissue mobility

  • Neuromuscular training for lip seal and closure, resulting in better speech diction

  • Teach you how to improve your facial expression repertoire

  • Teach you how to improve and reduce your unwanted involuntary movement (synkinesis)

  • Improve your confidence and self esteem

During the recovery process, we will adopt some neuroplasticity principles in the form of sensory and motor relearning to assist you in relearning movement and guide you accordingly with objective outcomes so you can rest assured that your progress is carefully documented and checked during each consultation.

We may also consider referring you to other health professionals to assist in your care, depending on your specific needs.

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