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Strained facial muscles

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My muscles started to have a "strained" feeling about 2 years ago whenever I would smile--especially if it was just a polite smile and wasn't natural. It's now gotten worse, and when I wake up every morning, I have to spend time stretching my face out to even be able talk half-normally or show facial expression at all. This leaves the area around my mouth extremely red for 10-15 minutes and leaves me feeling self-conscious. Even with my face stretched out, I can't speak as fluidly as I used to or smile as naturally. I feel like my communication ability has gone downhill; I often avoid speaking when I can. I feel like I can't be myself like I used to--it's uncomfortable to show emotion or expression. It's not debilitating, which is why it's taken me so long to actually try and get help with it. I've also developed eye sensitivity/dryness and facial dryness (I use facial lotion to combat that), which may or may not be related. Do you have any idea what may be causing all this?

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replied November 10th, 2008
Muscular and Nerve Disorders Answer A4843
In your case, it is very important to find out if your face muscles are really strained or you only feel them like that.

If you only FEEL the muscles strained then the problem is mental.

If the face muscles are really strained (hypertonic) the problem is neurologic.

You can consult a neurologist about your problem.

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