Bell's Palsy Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Bell's Palsy
In most cases, symptoms go away within a few weeks without treatment. Many cases of Bell's palsy completely resolve after a few months.
Protecting the eye is important. This is because you may not be able to blink. If an underlying cause of the symptoms is known, it is treated. In some cases, however, symptoms may never go away.
Below are several ways to treat Bell's palsy:
Your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids. These reduce swelling and pain. For example, studies have shown that prednisolone can improve the chance of complete recovery from Bell's palsy.
In addition to corticosteroids, antiviral medications (eg, valacyclovir [Valtrex], acyclovir [Zovirax]) may also be prescribed for this condition. But, the evidence is mixed as to how effective antivirals are in treating Bell's palsy.
Some doctors try to surgically relieve pressure on the nerve by removing part of the bone. This is an unproven procedure. It is considered controversial and is no longer commonly done. If the eyelid will not close, other surgeries around the eye may be considered.
You may need to apply lubricant or put drops in the eye. The eye can be covered and taped closed at night. Do not place tape directly on the eyelid. An eye patch may be worn to keep the eye closed. This helps moisten and keep particles out of the eye. Massage of the weakened facial muscles may be beneficial.
Symptoms can be very distressing. You may need help dealing with emotional issues associated with the condition.
Physical therapy and speech therapy may be helpful in improving symptoms.
If you are diagnosed with Bell's palsy, follow your doctor's instructions.