Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)

Dysphagia means difficulty swallowing. Swallowing disorders can occur at various phases in the swallowing process.

  • Oral Phase: Difficulty chewing and moving food or liquid from the mouth to the throat.
  • Pharyngeal Phase: Difficulty triggering the swallow, squeezing food or liquid down the throat, closing the airway so food and liquid don’t go down the wrong way.
  • Esophageal Phase: Difficulty relaxing and tightening the openings at the throat and stomach and squeezing food through the esophagus.

A stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, progressive neurological disease including Parkinson’s and ALS can all cause a swallowing disorder. Dementia conditions such as Alzheimer’s can also contribute to difficulties swallowing.

Signs and Symptoms of Dysphagia Include:
  • Coughing during or right after eating or drinking.
  • Wet or gurgly sounding voice during or after intake.
  • Extra effort or time needed to chew or swallow.
  • Food or liquid leaking from mouth to getting stuck in mouth.
  • Feeling of food or liquid ‘getting stuck’ in the throat.
  • Recurring pneumonia.
  • Weight loss or dehydration from not being able to eat enough.

How Gallien Therapy Can Help:

Gallien Therapy’s speech pathologists are swallowing specialists. Our experienced professionals have expertise in evaluation and perform a Modified Barium Swallow study, and treatment of swallowing disorders. They can determine the cause of your swallowing problems and design a treatment program to improve your ability.

Gallien therapy therapists have been trained in the latest techniques to combat dysphagia including Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (Ampcare) which has been scientifically proven to improve swallow functions. Myofascial Release and Deep Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Stimulation treatment options are also available.

What is a Modified Barium Swallow Study?

A modified barium swallow (MBS) is a radiologic imaging procedure that allows clinicians to evaluate and treat swallowing disorders. The procedure allows the speech-language pathologist (SLP and radiologist conducting the evaluation to examine the inside of your mouth and throat as you swallow. Barium, which is not absorbed by the body and passes through the system harmlessly, is mixed with foods and liquids of varying consistencies. During the MBS, x-rays will be taken while you swallow these foods and liquids. Typical consistencies include then and nectar thick liquid barium, a thicker pudding-like consistency, and a cracker or cookie. The x-rays will provide information about whether your muscles are working correctly to provide you with a safe swallow.


FAQ’s

Why do I need to go to a speech therapist; my speech is not my problem?

Speech-Language Pathologists are swallowing experts. They have extensive knowledge of the swallowing process and the treatment of swallow disorders. They have achieved Master Degrees from accredited programs and are certified by the American Speech Language Hearing Association.

What is dysphagia?

Dysphagia means difficulty swallowing.

What is aspiration?

Aspiration is when anything other than air enters the airway/lungs.

Can swallowing problems be helped?

Yes. In most instances, therapy techniques are sufficient to address swallowing difficulties.