Angelina Jolie and Bell’s Palsy…and maybe Botox!

Bell's Palsy

Angelina Jolie and Bell's PalsyBell’s Palsy is a condition that results in a sudden onset of paralysis/droop to one side of the face and affects 40,000 Americans every year. It’s believed to be caused by the same herpes virus that causes a cold sore. The cause is also considered idiopathic – which is just a fancy term for we’re not totally sure what causes it. Now it’s getting more notoriety because Angelina Jolie recently discussed her affliction with Bell’s Palsy.


Angelina Jolie and Bell’s Palsy

In 85% of patients that get Bell’s Palsy, the facial paralysis will resolve on its own without any treatment within three months. The other 15% will have lingering nerve issues and asymmetry to the face. And if it doesn’t resolve, you need the help of an occupational therapist (OT), like Jackie Diels. Jackie is an OT and treats patients with synkinesis. Synkinesis is an abnormal rewiring of the facial muscles after Bell’s Palsy.


After seeing the patient via an online consultation, she teaches patients to “turn off” the abnormal movements through facial retraining. She sees most of her patients via Skype these days because people seek her out for help from across the country. You can hear from her in the podcast below. Through the use of metaphors and analogies, she teaches the patient how to improve their facial symmetry and smile.


Bell’s Palsy facial retraining with Jackie Diels


Additionally, sometimes patients requires BOTOX®Cosmetic or Xeomin to treat their synkinesis, and that’s where a plastic surgeon comes in! See the video below that discusses injectible treatment for Bell’s Palsy. For clarification, there’s no evidence that Angelina Jolie had synkinesis or required Botox, but she does bring more attention to the subject and its treatment.


Video on treating Bell’s Palsy with Botox


For more information or questions about Bell’s Palsy or facial retraining, email Jackie at


Listen to more of the BuildMyBod Health Podcast by clicking here. And if you have an interesting story to tell and want to be a part of the BuildMyBod Health podcast, email us at


To check pricing on Botox/Xeomin from a doctor near you to treat Bell’s Palsy, click here.



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