Facial Palsy (Bell's Palsy) | MedStar Health

Bell’s palsy is a form of facial paralysis that results from trauma to nerves in the face. It is a temporary condition, and, over the last several decades, facial retraining for this type of paralysis has shown to be an effective component of improving facial motor control.

Our facial palsy therapy program has pioneered some of the new techniques to help patients regain motor control following facial paralysis.

We use a variety of tools to evaluate and assess each patient, and to create a plan of treatment. A combination of therapeutic techniques is used to help patients relearn how to utilize facial muscles spontaneously.

We use an individualized team approach, incorporating the expertise of physicians, dentists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, biofeedback therapists, and psychologists.

In addition to facial/Bell’s palsy, some of the conditions we treat include:

  • Acoustic neuroma

  • Parotid tumors

  • Stroke

  • Trauma

  • Lyme disease

  • Congenital problems

  • Diabetes

  • Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Innovative therapy techniques

Mirror Book Therapy is a facial exercise that uses a bi-fold mirror which twice reflects the unaffected side of the face to create a full image. This tricks the brain into normal facial expressions.

In addition to traditional manual therapy, such as massage, posture exercises, and orthotics, therapists also employ a variety of less conventional interventions to help restore normal movement. These include:

  • Biofeedback/EMG to help modify facial movement patterns

  • “Lollipop therapy” to improve sucking and decrease involuntary eye movements

  • Kinesio taping, a technique adapted from sports training that helps reduce synkinesis, an involuntary and misdirected over-contraction of facial muscles

  • Botox to help reduce synkinesis and decrease over activity of the unaffected side

  • Ultrasound treatments to promote muscle relaxation, increase circulation, and break down scar tissue that impedes muscle movement

  • The program treats newly diagnosed patients, as well as patients who want to improve their condition after an acute episode.

Our providers

A team of physical therapists pose for a photo in a rehabilitation gym.

Expert rehabilitation care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our rehabilitation specialists.

Our locations

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MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Loch Raven — Orthopedic and Hand Center

5445 Loch Raven Blvd
MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
Smyth Bldg., Ste. 403A
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Catonsville

3455 Wilkens Ave.
Ste. 306
Baltimore, MD 21229

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Irving Street – Neurorehabilitation Center

102 Irving St., NW
MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital
First Floor
Washington, DC, 20010

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Olney

18109 Prince Philip Dr.
Ste. 155 & 355
Olney, MD 20832

NRH Rehabilitation Network at Wheaton

2730 University Blvd. W.
Ste. 812
Wheaton, MD 20902