What are the causes and treatment options for recurrent facial paralysis?

Symptom Database

Facial paralysis, also known as facial nerve palsy, is a condition that affects the muscles of the face, resulting in weakness or paralysis. While facial paralysis can occur as a one-time event, some individuals may experience recurrent episodes of facial paralysis. In this article, we will explore the causes and treatment options for recurrent facial paralysis, also known as Bell’s palsy.

Causes of Recurrent Facial Paralysis

Recurrent facial paralysis can have various underlying causes. Understanding these causes is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment options. Some common causes of recurrent facial paralysis include:

  • Facial nerve damage: Damage to the facial nerve, which controls the muscles of the face, can lead to recurrent episodes of facial paralysis. This damage can occur due to trauma, infection, or other underlying medical conditions.
  • Facial muscle weakness: Weakness in the facial muscles can make individuals more susceptible to recurrent facial paralysis. This weakness can be caused by factors such as aging, muscle disorders, or nerve disorders.
  • Underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or Lyme disease, can increase the risk of recurrent facial paralysis. These conditions affect the nerves and can result in episodes of facial paralysis.

Treatment Options for Recurrent Facial Paralysis

When it comes to treating recurrent facial paralysis, the underlying cause plays a significant role in determining the appropriate treatment approach. Here are some common treatment options:


Medications are often prescribed to manage the symptoms and promote recovery in cases of recurrent facial paralysis. These medications may include:

  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation and swelling, which can alleviate the symptoms of facial paralysis. They are commonly used in the treatment of Bell’s palsy.
  • Antiviral drugs: If the recurrent facial paralysis is caused by a viral infection, antiviral drugs may be prescribed to target the underlying infection and reduce the severity of symptoms.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can play a crucial role in the recovery process for individuals with recurrent facial paralysis. It involves exercises and techniques that help strengthen the facial muscles and improve overall facial function.

Surgical Interventions

In some cases, surgical interventions may be necessary to treat recurrent facial paralysis. These interventions aim to repair or bypass damaged nerves and restore facial function. Some surgical options include:

  • Nerve grafting: Nerve grafting involves taking a healthy nerve from another part of the body and using it to repair the damaged facial nerve. This procedure can help restore facial movement and function.
  • Nerve decompression: Nerve decompression surgery involves relieving pressure on the facial nerve by removing or repositioning surrounding structures. This can help improve nerve function and reduce the frequency of recurrent facial paralysis episodes.

Recovery and Management of Recurrent Facial Paralysis

Recovery from recurrent facial paralysis can vary depending on the underlying cause and the individual’s overall health. While some individuals may experience complete recovery, others may have residual weakness or ongoing episodes of facial paralysis.

During the recovery process, it is essential to manage the symptoms and promote healing. Here are some tips for managing recurrent facial paralysis:

  • Protect the affected side of the face from extreme temperatures and harsh weather conditions.
  • Practice good facial hygiene to prevent infections.
  • Use lubricating eye drops or ointments to prevent dryness and protect the eyes.
  • Engage in facial exercises recommended by a physical therapist to strengthen the facial muscles.
  • Seek emotional support and counseling to cope with the psychological impact of recurrent facial paralysis.

It is important to note that the prognosis for recurrent facial paralysis can vary from person to person. Early diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and diligent management can significantly improve the chances of recovery.


Recurrent facial paralysis, also known as Bell’s palsy, can be a challenging condition to manage. Understanding the underlying causes and available treatment options is crucial in promoting recovery and managing the symptoms. Medications, physical therapy, and surgical interventions can all play a role in the treatment of recurrent facial paralysis. Additionally, adopting healthy habits and seeking emotional support can contribute to overall well-being and improve the quality of life for individuals with recurrent facial paralysis.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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