Bells palsy and training?

Hi guys - I'm about 7 weeks into my training for the belfast marathon and am up to doing the 10mile run for my longest run of the week (with 3 other smaller days training)

I've woken up this morning with the left side of my face numb and a quick visit to the doctor tells me I have the condition Bells Palsy...
From research it can take between 3 weeks to 2 months to recover from this and get feeling back in my face etc. Was quite scary waking this mornig to find this. So if I stop training now then Im pretty much beat for the marathon as its on May 7th.

Doc says I should cease running as this would cause stress on my face etc - which I respect his advice.

Just wondering if anyone on here has ever come across this situation or has any advice or wise words to give.

All comments apprecated on this pretty grim day for me :/

Thanks guys...



  • Thanks hoose - did you continue to run whilst you had the condition? and it still went away with no probs?

    And no I dont think i would be breaking any records either with my times lol im about an 8-8.30mins a mile sort of pace - first time runner really - started last year and have got into this training schedule for the marathon.
    Thanks for the comment
  • I suppose you will need to take your GP's advice, but like Hoose can't see what sort of stress it would place on your face - especially as I'm guessing from your post that as you a beginner and from your training times that you are fairly relaxed when you run -

    NOt sure if you have seen the website but you might like to have a look at the following (can't do links)
    it might be worth getting advice from them.
  • nup doc gave me nothing at all - he did mention that steroids are sometimes given to aid the recovery of this condition but he commented that I would recover most likely without anything. therefore gave me no medication.

    jst so frustrating and im sure others in the forums with diff types of injuries etc know exactly how Im feeling! training was going so well as well! :/
  • Thanks Grendal

    Yep was browsing that site and others earlier and have just posted on one of them as well - same sort of message.

    Thought id try the experienced runners forum firstly to see if any other runners had experienced this.

    Thanks guys
  • Good luck and whatever you do take care.
  • yip hoose - its worse if you know your body and legs can do the running etc but you're not allowed to...
    think im still in denial and searching for someone to difinitivly tell me I CAN continue to train with no adverse effects - but ive a feeling ill not get that answer :/

    ah ho...
  • thanks grendel

  • thanks grendel

  • a mate a mine who is a cyclist got the complaint but it took him ages to get completely back to normal.he was out on his bike training on a cold day when it happened to him. seems that there is no reason why some people get it.
  • That's a bummer Gareth,

    Hopefully one of the docs will be around soon to give some good advice.

    I have known two people with the condition and both made a significant recovery after about 3 weeks.
  • Thanks scream

    Yeh would really appreciate a 2nd opinion from any runner docs that visit on here.

    Thanks guys
  • hello gareth

    i cant really see how running would affect your bells palsy actually, unless your doc is owrried about running your body down with long runs-though the actual medical evidence for that is minimal

    can you close your eye ok--that would be the only worry i wouold have
  • hmmm hippo - I can just about close my eye but I do most of my training at the mo (3 days out of the 4 a week) on the treadmill indoors.
    I suppose if I were allowed to run outdoors and with no risk to the condition then I could wear shades and keep eye drops on my possession? Was it my eye drying up that you were worrying about?

    As I said this is my first day of this condition and just trying to assess whether I can continue training with it as Im sure you know if you miss a week or 2 of training coming up to a marathon etc its very hard to get it back! :)
  • yes gareth-that was exaxctly it-the eye drying out and ulcerating

    A lot of bells pasly cases are associated with the herpes virus(shingles), which i guess technically is an infection
    but i think your doc is erring on the side of caution

    I wouldnt worry about a week or so out of mara training-that could happen if you got a bad cold
  • A friend of my mum's has just got this. Not dure what she's doing exercise-wise - she plays Rugby and ignores advice....

    But, with regards to not training and the subsequent frustration etc, just try and keep your chin up - you will be back there soon enough. Try to watch what you eat as you might find the weight absolutely pile on (I did when I had to stop running).

    Try and stay positive, I've learnt the hard way about being miserable because I couldn't run.

    Best wishes and keep us informed.
  • Thanks TriesHard... words are appreciated

    Are there any doctors who frequent the boards here and are runners by the way does anyone know?

  • yes
    I am a running doctor

    sorry-i should have said
  • ah sorry Hippo no probs

    Thanks for the advice - I've taken it all on board and resting for a week or 2 and then re-assess the situation I think.

    I'm on no meds and just hoping that I will recover fully and quickly and get back training...

    Have already looked at the calender and am planning Dublin Oct 07 as my first marathon now ;)

    Cheers guys!!

  • cant see why you cant do Belfast if you onmly have a week off

    but Dublin is a cracking marathon

    thers also Longford in august-thats nice
  • My mate had/has the same condition. Her's was brought on by stress (they think) after her boyf left her! She was told to relax and once she could blink we were off surfing and all sorts!

    I think that the stress of worring about it can make it worse, so just get on and do what makes you happy!

    My mates mostly back to normal now and it's given her a completely new perspective on life!

    Hope this helps :O)

    Good luck!
  • hehe good one hoose!!!

    yeh hippo - if I get away with one week off then I should be still on track - just thinking of worse case scenario at the moment!

    thanks for the feedback guys!
  • one week down the line and im still pretty numbed up on the face, eye and mouth etc although I THINK somethings happening for the good i.e. starting to slowing move back to normality - im stressing the THINK here! :)

    dont think my case is an extreme case thank God - have heard of others alot worse

    did a 3mile run thur morning and then had a pretty sore pain come on my face on fri-sat and still got it today - very tender to the touch.
    Had read up on some of the specialist forums and it seems this is a common thing (I had thought the run had brought it on but think people do get it and most think its actually a sign of you healing/getting better hoose)

    Im feeling no other symptoms that were described (like chronic tiredness etc) - I take one of those Vit C effervesnents each morning so that keeps me going - but Im rarring to get going again.

    So i think im planning on doing 2 or 3 days lite indoor treadmill work this week.
    Hippo gimme some advice via email so i think ill try that out and stop if I think my bodys saying no! :)

    Will keep posted on how things go - but if it goes well this week then i could get back on track again soon!
    My two running buddies done their long run on sat - 10miler - and i missed it - broke my heart!! lol but ill get there over the next week or two hopefully! :)

    Thanks hoose and will update the thread again!

  • Hi Gareth,

    I had Bells Palsy about 20 yrs ago!! Docs thought it was possibly a trapped nerve in my skull that caused it - after some scrumming practice at rugby training.

    I didn't get any meds either, but I thought you could be prescribed steroids for this nowadays - is this the case Plodding Hippo?

    The reason I say this is that (and I don't want to worry you) but it was a long time before I got significantly better (although I could close my eye after about 3-4 days).

    I got some treatment from an osteopath who specialised in head massage/manipulation and also got the use of a TENS machine that stimulated the muscles on that side of my face. These 2 things are what made the real difference for me.

    On the other hand, I had a colleague who had it and he was almost back to normal within a month - I think he had some form of med though!

    I'm sure I started playing rugby again after 3 or 4 weeks and had the terrible problem that the only thing I could drink from without dribbling was a pint glass - shame! :)

    Good luck,

  • I would just add, that as long as you can shut your eye, I wouldn't worry about going out running. You will just find that your eye waters more than usual.

  • Alan-thats basically what i said;))

    Quite so

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