Swallowing Disorders or Dysphagia

Swallowing Disorders or Dysphagia

Dysphagia is the medical term for a disorder of the swallowing mechanism.

A person with Dysphagia may complain of:

  • drooling and poor oral management;
  • food or liquid remaining in the oral cavity after the swallow;
  • complaints of food “sticking”;
  • complaints of pain when swallowing;
  • wet or gurgly sounding voice during or after eating or drinking;
  • coughing during or right after eating or drinking;
  • difficulty coordinating breathing and swallowing;
  • recurring aspiration pneumonia/respiratory infection and/or fever;

Following a thorough evaluation of swallowing function treatment may include:

  • VitalStim Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Therapy to re-educate the swallowing muscles in conjunction with exercises or while swallowing specific textures of foods/liquids.
  • Surface Electromyography (sEMG) treatment allows us to see a graph of the swallow on a screen. This provides biofeedback of effort and allows patients to gauge and increase muscle recruitment to improve strength and function.
  • Myofascial Release is a manual therapy to address fibrosis related dysphagia post radiation or in the presence of severe muscle tension to restore motion and function.
  • Resistive Breathing Tasks to improve ability to mobilize air, secretions and to improve cough. Resistive Breathing tasks have been shown to improve diaphragmatic breathing and swallowing function.
  • Postural technique implementation as appropriate to reduce the risk of swallowing complication and improve function

Implementation and instruction of individualized compensatory strategies to increase safety and improve function with recommended diet