Rehabilitation therapies are offered at the Johns Hopkins Facial Paralysis and Pain Treatment Center as a treatment option for those patients suffering from facial paralysis. The goal is to treat the patient so that ultimately they can smile in a social situation.
Some of the therapies include:
1. Neuromuscular rehabilitation. These include a range of motion exercises, teaching and strengthening the muscles. Injured and weakened muscles will try and get stronger, but will sometimes not perform efficiently. The goal of neuromuscular rehabilitation is to facilitate the ones we want to work and inhibit the ones that are not operating efficiently.
Within this category are two popular forms of therapy. These include:
- Mirror therapy. Patients look in mirror as they perform certain exercises in order to receive visual cues and feedback from their movements
- Biofeedback. Surface electrodes are placed on a patients’ face. These electrodes only sense what the muscles are doing and provide feedback as to their motor activity. As patients practice their exercises, the feedback assists them in learning to efficiently use their muscles. The machine also picks up when muscles are overactive and helps in teaching patients the proper way to do an exercise. When patients are ready, this form of therapy can assist them while they practice at home.
2. Massage. Massage is another form of therapy. By gently manipulating the muscles and nerves in the face, the therapist can provide another form of stimulation and help the patient to identify certain feelings and patterns.