Every person with Bell's palsy is affected differently. Some people find their symptoms are mild and disappear on their own in about 2 weeks without treatment. Other people may need to be treated with a medication or another option, for instance, if they have an infection.
Some doctors may recommend early treatment with corticosteroids to reduce facial swelling and inflammation. Sometimes an antiviral drug (such as acyclovir) may be helpful in speeding up recovery from Bell's palsy. A combination of both types of drugs may even be used.
Pain may be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen (like Tylenol) and ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin). Sometimes applying moist heat to the affected side of the face can help relieve pain as well.
People with Bell's palsy need to take special care of their affected eye to prevent discomfort and complications from severe dry eye and possibly a scratched cornea (clear covering of the eye). The most common treatment usually includes using lubricating eye drops or artificial tears during the day, and an ointment at night, to keep the eye moist. On occasion, the eye will be patched, taped shut or have a moisture chamber placed over it at night to protect and keep it moist during sleep.
If the eyelid droops so severely that it is turned outward (ectropion), surgery may be needed to repair it.
To help affected facial nerves recover, physical therapy may be recommended, as well as facial massage and exercises.