When facial palsy initially occurs the affected side(s) of your face will feel and look floppy as there are no nerve signals telling the muscles to contract. Once your face starts to recover you will notice that:
- Muscles in some areas begin to work again earlier than other areas.
- In some areas you may notice different things about your face;
- The eye may seem smaller and the corner of the mouth may seem raised on the affected side.
- The cheek may feel tight and stiff. Don’t panic, you haven’t had a facial palsy on the other side.
- The cheek branches of the nerve tend to recover first but aren’t balanced out by the forehead and chin branches of the nerve which take longer to get working again. So the face muscles are unbalanced.
- As all the nerve branches recover you can help get balance back in the face with lots of slow, careful exercises in front of the mirror.
- At first movements may be asymmetrical and difficult but slow repetitive practice will eventually wake up your brain’s memory of how the movement used to work. This is a slow process but worth persevering with as small improvements add up to a big overall change.
- Exercises done at this stage must be done on a relaxed face and should concentrate on tiny, precise movements.