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What Should You Avoid If You Have Bell’s Palsy?

Discover what to avoid if you have Bell’s palsy to support your recovery. Explore lifestyle c…
What Should You Avoid If You Have Bell's Palsy? | BlueHeadline.com
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Understanding Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s palsy is a condition that leads to temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face. It occurs due to inflammation of the cranial nerve VII (also known as the facial nerve), which controls facial expressions and functions such as blinking, smiling, and frowning. This condition can cause a sudden drooping of the affected side of the face and may affect other senses, such as taste and tear production. While it usually improves within a few weeks, understanding what to avoid during this time is crucial for managing the condition effectively.

Causes and Triggers

The exact cause of Bell’s palsy is unknown, but it is often associated with viral infections, diabetes, and pregnancy. Viral triggers, such as herpes simplex and Epstein-Barr virus, are believed to be major culprits. Since it can be challenging to pinpoint the exact trigger, managing Bell’s palsy involves being mindful of potential risk factors and avoiding certain activities or substances that may worsen the condition.

Things to Avoid if You Have Bell’s Palsy

Here are some important things to avoid if you are experiencing Bell’s palsy:

  1. Stress and Fatigue:
    • Stress and fatigue can aggravate Bell’s palsy symptoms and delay recovery. Prioritize rest and relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, or gentle yoga. Reduce your workload if possible, and take breaks throughout the day to relax and calm your mind and body. Remember, stress management is an important part of your recovery journey, so don’t hesitate to reach out for support or make lifestyle changes to minimize stress triggers.
  2. Excessive Eye Strain:
    • Bell’s palsy often affects the eye on the affected side of the face, making it difficult to close or blink. To avoid excessive eye strain and dryness, it is important to protect your eye:
      • Use eye drops or artificial tears regularly to keep your eye moist and comfortable.
      • Wear sunglasses or protective eyewear when outdoors to shield your eye from wind, dust, and bright light.
      • Tape your eye shut at night or during naps to prevent corneal damage and dryness.
      • Consult an ophthalmologist for specialized eye care and to monitor your eye health.
  3. Certain Physical Activities:
    • While gentle exercise is beneficial for overall health and recovery, it is important to avoid strenuous physical activities, especially those that involve heavy lifting, intense cardio, or contact sports. These activities can increase blood pressure and put strain on the facial nerve, potentially delaying recovery. Opt for light walks, gentle stretching, or yoga instead.
  4. Extreme Temperatures:
    • Both hot and cold temperatures can aggravate Bell’s palsy symptoms. Avoid saunas, steam rooms, and very hot baths or showers, as they can increase blood flow and inflammation. Similarly, extremely cold environments or ice packs applied directly to the face can restrict blood flow and slow down the healing process. Aim for moderate temperatures and use lukewarm compresses if needed.
  5. Tobacco and Alcohol:
    • Tobacco and alcohol consumption can negatively impact nerve health and slow down recovery. It is best to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake during this time. These substances can also contribute to dehydration, which can further irritate the eye and affect overall health.
  6. Irritating Substances:
    • Avoid exposure to irritants such as strong chemicals, pollutants, and allergens. These substances can trigger an inflammatory response and worsen Bell’s palsy symptoms. This includes harsh cleaning products, air pollutants, and known allergens like pollen or pet dander.
  7. Certain Medications:
    • Consult your doctor about any medications you are currently taking, as some may need to be adjusted or avoided. For example, certain blood pressure medications or anti-inflammatory drugs might interfere with your treatment plan. It is important to review your medication list with your healthcare provider to ensure they are Bell’s palsy-friendly.
  8. Self-Consciousness and Isolation:
    • Bell’s palsy can be a challenging condition emotionally, as it affects your facial appearance and expressions. Try not to let self-consciousness or embarrassment keep you isolated. Reach out to loved ones, join support groups, or seek counseling if needed. Remember, social support is an important aspect of coping with and recovering from Bell’s palsy.

Treatment and Management

Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies:

  • Prioritize rest and sleep: Get plenty of rest and maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support your body’s natural healing process.
  • Healthy diet: Eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Nutrient-dense foods provide your body with the fuel it needs to repair and recover.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your body and eyes well-hydrated. Dehydration can exacerbate eye dryness and other symptoms.
  • Gentle facial massage: Gently massage the affected side of your face to stimulate blood flow and promote relaxation. Use circular motions and light pressure, moving from the forehead down to the chin.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements: Consult your doctor about taking vitamin B12, vitamin A, and copper supplements to support nerve health and recovery.

Medical Treatments:

  • Corticosteroids: Your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to reduce inflammation and speed up recovery.
  • Antiviral medications: Since Bell’s palsy is often triggered by a viral infection, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to combat the virus and potentially improve nerve function.
  • Eye care: It is crucial to protect your eye from dryness and damage. Your ophthalmologist may recommend artificial tears, eye ointments, or eye patches to keep your eye moist and protected.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can guide you through facial exercises to improve muscle strength and coordination during recovery.
  • Alternative therapies: Acupuncture and electrical stimulation have shown some potential benefits in improving Bell’s palsy symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I exercise with Bell’s palsy?

It is generally recommended to avoid strenuous exercise and intense physical activities, especially during the acute phase of Bell’s palsy (usually the first 2-3 weeks). Gentle exercises, such as light walking, gentle yoga, or stretching, are preferable during this time. Strenuous activities can increase blood pressure and put strain on the affected facial nerve, potentially delaying recovery. Always consult your doctor or physical therapist for personalized advice based on your condition.

What foods should I avoid with Bell’s palsy?

There are no specific foods to avoid with Bell’s palsy. However, maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet is crucial for supporting your body’s natural healing process. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods, such as leafy greens, fatty fish (salmon, tuna), and colorful fruits and vegetables. Ensure you are getting enough vitamin B12, vitamin A, and copper, as these nutrients support nerve health. Limit processed foods, excessive sugar, and alcohol, as they can contribute to inflammation and hinder recovery.

How long should I avoid certain activities after being diagnosed with Bell’s palsy?

The recovery time for Bell’s palsy varies, and it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice based on your individual progress. Generally, it is recommended to avoid strenuous activities, extreme temperatures, and irritants for at least 3-6 weeks after the onset of symptoms or until your doctor advises otherwise. This allows the facial nerve to heal and reduces the risk of aggravating your condition. Remember, gradual reintroduction of activities is often best to avoid overexertion.


Bell’s palsy is a manageable condition, and by avoiding certain triggers and adopting healthy lifestyle changes, you can support your body’s natural healing process. While it may be a challenging journey, remember that recovery is possible, and you are not alone.

“Bell’s palsy taught me to be more patient and compassionate, both with myself and others. It’s a reminder that our bodies are resilient and capable of incredible healing.” 

Please leave a comment sharing your experiences with Bell’s palsy and how you coped with the condition. Don’t forget to subscribe to Blue Headline for more insightful content!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , Last modified: April 28, 2024
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