Benefits of Physical Therapy for Bell Palsy

by Dr. Kilcup | Apr 3, 2024 | Articles, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) | 0 comments

Bell’s palsy causes temporary paralysis in one side of the face. It can be a frightening and frustrating experience for those who are affected by it. Bell’s palsy cause is unknown, but it is likely due to facial nerve inflammation or swelling. Read on to learn more about Physical Therapy for Bell Palsy and another treatment option that may be even better.

What is Bell’s Palsy?

Let’s first understand what Bell’s palsy is before discussing the benefits of physical therapy for it. Bell’s palsy is a form of facial paralysis that affects the muscles on one side of the face. It can cause drooping of the eyelid, difficulty closing the eye, drooling, and difficulty making facial expressions. It can also affect the sense of taste and cause pain behind the ear on the affected side.

How Can Physical Therapy for Bell Palsy Help?

Physical therapy can be a crucial part of facial paralysis treatment. It can make your facial muscles stronger and help them move better. A physical therapist will customize a treatment plan. It will include exercises, massage, and techniques to improve facial muscle control and function.

Facial Exercises

One of the main benefits of physical therapy for Bell’s palsy is the use of facial exercises. These exercises are designed to help strengthen and retrain the facial muscles on the affected side of the face. They can also help improve facial symmetry and reduce drooping. A physical therapist will guide the patient through these exercises and monitor their progress to ensure they are performing them correctly.

Hyperbaric Oxygen for Bell’s Palsy Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is beneficial for Bell’s Palsy and various neurological conditions. Conditions that HBOT helps include stroke, traumatic brain injury, birth injuries, sudden hearing loss, sudden vision loss, and others.

The primary reason HBOT is so helpful with all neurological conditions like Bell’s Palsy due its powerful reduction in swelling effect. Reducing swelling a little bit can help lower pressure on the nerve and make blood flow and oxygen delivery better. When a nerve is damaged, HBOT can help it heal faster by reducing inflammation and promoting repair.

Helping the facial nerve heal faster can reduce long-term problems with how your face looks and works. Patients can have a better smile and improved eyelid function. Drooling, taste issues, and other problems can be reduced. They don’t have to wait a long time for things to get better on their own.

HBOT works better then steroids

This study compared two treatments for Bell’s palsy: HBOT and prednisone. They studied 79 people with Bell’s palsy, splitting them into two groups. One group got HBOT where they breathed pure oxygen under high pressure, while the other group got prednisone pills. They did this treatment for several weeks and then followed up with the patients for nine months.

The results showed that more people who got HBOT fully recovered from Bell’s palsy compared to those who got prednisone. Also, the ones who got HBOT got better faster, in about 22 days on average, while those who got prednisone took about 34.4 days to get better. The study found that nerve function improved more with HBOT than with prednisone.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy a promising alternative treatment for Bell’s Palsy

For Bell’s palsy therapy, doctors often give medicines to ease pain and reduce swelling, like Prednisone. Steroids like Prednisone come with some serious health problems.

Health Problems Associated with Steroids:

  1. Increased Appetite and Weight Gain: Prednisone can cause a significant increase in appetite, leading to weight gain.
  2. Mood Changes: Some individuals may experience mood swings, irritability, or even depression while taking Prednisone.
  3. Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep can occur as a side effect of Prednisone.
  4. Increased Risk of Infections: Prednisone suppresses the immune system.
  5. Fluid Retention: Prednisone can cause retention of sodium and water, leading to swelling in the extremities and face.
  6. Increased Blood Sugar Levels
  7. Osteoporosis: Long-term use of Prednisone can lead to bone density loss and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
  8. Gastrointestinal Issues: Prednisone can irritate the lining of the stomach, leading to symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn, or stomach ulcers.
  9. Skin Changes: Prednisone can cause thinning of the skin, easy bruising, and increased susceptibility to skin infections.
  10. Adrenal Suppression: Prolonged use of Prednisone can suppress the adrenal glands, leading to adrenal insufficiency when the medication is stopped suddenly.

HBOT causes none of these health problems. HBOT works better by treating the root causes of the signs and symptoms. Furthermore, HBOT addresses any remaining nerve damage, which is something medications can’t accomplish. Faster healing and reduced inflammation of the facial nerve result in less nerve damage and lower reliance on physical and surgical treatments.

HBOT for Bell’s palsy can speed up healing, reduce discomfort and facial distortion, and promote a quicker recovery.

How does HBOT work?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) works for neurological problems by delivering high concentrations of oxygen to tissues under increased atmospheric pressure. Here’s how it works:

  1. Increased Oxygen Delivery: HBOT involves breathing 100% oxygen in a pressurized chamber, which significantly increases the amount of oxygen dissolved in the bloodstream. This oxygen-rich blood is then delivered to tissues throughout the body, including areas with compromised blood flow due to surgery.
  2. Promotes Healing: Oxygen is essential for cellular metabolism and the healing process. By delivering high levels of oxygen to tissues, HBOT helps to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) and enhance the production of collagen, which are crucial for wound healing and tissue repair after surgery.
  3. Reduces Inflammation: HBOT has anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce swelling and inflammation in tissues affected by surgery. This can alleviate pain, improve tissue oxygenation, and facilitate the removal of toxins and metabolic waste products.
  4. Enhances Immune Function: HBOT boosts the immune system, promoting the body’s ability to fight infection and reduce the risk of post-surgical complications such as wound infections.
  5. Prevents Tissue Damage: In surgical procedures where blood flow may be compromised, such as in tissue grafts or flaps, HBOT can prevent tissue damage by providing oxygen directly to these areas, reducing the risk of tissue necrosis or graft failure.
  6. Faster Recovery: By promoting tissue healing, reducing inflammation, and enhancing immune function, HBOT can lead to faster recovery times after surgery. Patients may experience reduced pain, improved wound healing, and a shorter hospital stay.

Start Today!

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Bell’s palsy is safe for people across all age groups. HBOT rarely results in complications or side effects when preformed under proper medical supervision. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a good option for treating Bell’s palsy. It is easy, helps symptoms get better, and speeds up healing and recovery.

Our office is ready to welcome you for treatment if you live in Phoenix, Arizona! We have multiple hard-shell chambers capable of reaching the pressures needed to treat Bell’s Palsy. Our staff are qualified and Certified Hyperbaric Technicians (CHT) under Dr. Kilcup’s direction. Located at 7016 N 27th Ave – fill out the new patient form below or call our office to get started!

Darrell Kilcup, DC, CFMP


Hi there! I’m Dr. Kilcup. You know that health problem you’ve been dealing with – the one that doctors can’t seem to solve, that’s stealing way too much of your time, energy and joy? I can help you get to the bottom that. I am passionate about using the best of science and nutrition to find and fix root causes of health issues. Start your journey towards healing and relief today.

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5.0 16 reviews
I am so happy and grateful to have found Dr. Kilcup!! He is extremely patient, kind and compassionate, and takes the time to really listen and educate about the practices and treatments. I am seeing him for treatment for multiple things (hyperbaric oxygen, chiropractic care, functional medicine) and he has surpassed any other previous doctors and specialists I’ve seen before. I highly recommend working with him and his staff!
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Taylor Wray
1 month ago
The office staff is very friendly and helpful, the chamber is very effective for health benefits. Have been trying out the red light therapy as well. I highly recommend this place.
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Brandon M
2 months ago
What a great experience, I’ve never done anything like this before. I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful. Can’t say enough good stuff about this place. I totally recommend trying it out. my adventure continues….
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Wade Jagmin
2 months ago
I have just done my second treatment and I felt pretty good. I didn’t really notice a difference after the first treatment but could tell I felt pretty good after todays. I have a lot going on health wise and look forward to how these treatments and Dr Kilcup will get me back on track.
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Ronny Heeb
2 months ago
Dr Kilcup and his staff are very knowledgeable and kind. They have state of the art equipment to aid in healing my chronic autoimmune disease. Thank you Functional Medicine Center!
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Cherie Shaw
3 months ago