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The Efficacy of Electrotherapy for Bell's Palsy: A Systematic Review

Quinn, Rosie; Cramp, Fiona


Rosie Quinn

Fiona Cramp
Professor in Long Term Conditions


© 2003 Maney Publishing. There are many unresolved views on the efficacy of a wide range of therapeutic approaches in the treatment of Bell's palsy. The purpose of this paper was to review systematically randomised controlled trials, controlled trials and case studies relating to the efficacy of electrotherapy modalities in the management of acute and chronic Bell's palsy. The electrotherapy modalities reviewed included electrical stimulation, electromyography biofeedback, ultrasound, laser and short-wave diathermy.All the included studies were reviewed according to a self-devised checklist. Methodological considerations including the paucity of literature, and overall poor quality of trials impact the conclusions of this review. A clinical reasoning model and reflective practice, which consider the physiological effects of electrotherapeutic modalities according to the stages of healing of nerve injury, is offered. Guidance for electrotherapy intervention is suggested as well as possible areas for future research.


Quinn, R., & Cramp, F. (2003). The Efficacy of Electrotherapy for Bell's Palsy: A Systematic Review. Physical Therapy Reviews, 8(3), 151-164.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Sep 1, 2003
Journal Physical Therapy Reviews
Print ISSN 1083-3196
Electronic ISSN 1743-288X
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 3
Pages 151-164
Keywords electrotherapy, Bell's Palsy
Public URL
Publisher URL