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Video:Facial Exercises to Aid With Stroke Recovery

with Dr. Joel Stein

Facial exercises are used in stroke recovery to retrain muscles that may have been affected by the brain trauma. Watch this About.com video to see common facial exercises used in stroke rehabilitation.See Transcript

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Transcript:Facial Exercises to Aid With Stroke Recovery

Hello, Dr.  Joel Stein, here, from New York Presbyterian Hospital, with About.com

Why Facial Exercises are Included in Stroke Rehabilitation

Stroke, by interrupting the blood supply to the brain, often causes partial or more severe muscle weakness and paralysis in the face.

Regaining mobility and accuracy in the movement of these muscles is important for activities such as eating, swallowing, smiling, pronouncing words properly and making facial expressions.

Some exercises can help, and they rely on retraining the brain through repetitions. Of course the appropriate exercises depend of which muscle nerves have been affected, be it the tongue, jaw etc.. A speech and language pathologist can help you design the best course of training for you personally.

Examples of Facial Exercises

Here are a few general suggestions for exercises you can do on your own:

If the lips are affected, attempt a smile, then pucker your lips to simulate a kiss. Repeat 10 times. Try to incorporate pronouncing names in the exercises, in particular some where mouth closure is involved, typically containing sounds with letters "B," "M," "N," "P," "F" or some where the tongue plays an important role, such as "L," "D."

For the eyebrows, raise them and hold them in position for 15 seconds. To take this exercise one step further, you can actually use your fingers and use them to push against. Repeat 10 times. For your eyes, try to wink. Then close your eye without raising your lips or wrinkling your eyebrows. Wink one eye, if possible, and then alternate. Open your eyes as wide as possible, hold them open and then rest. Do these repetitions several times a day. Devices such as large straws, flutes, bubble blowers, and other things can be used to assist you in these exercises. Facial massage may also be useful to help relax the muscles and stimulate the tissue.

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