Do You Have a Swallowing Disorder? Speech Therapy Can Help!

Do You Have a Swallowing Disorder? Speech Therapy Can Help!

Swallowing Disorder

Do you or your child have difficulty eating or drinking? This can be dangerous to your health and put you at risk of choking.

However, Wise Physical Therapy in Anchorage offers therapy that is specifically tailored to a person’s needs for speech, voice, language, feeding, and swallowing. Our speech therapists work hard to assist our patients in developing strong oral motor skills and reducing problems with eating, drinking, swallowing, and communicating.

If you are unsure whether you or your child has a swallowing disorder, please contact our Anchorage clinic right away. Our speech therapists will be happy to discuss how our therapeutic services can benefit you.

What exactly is a swallowing disorder? 

“Having difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) is a symptom that accompanies a number of neurological disorders,” according to NINDS. “The issue can arise at any point during the normal swallowing process as food and liquid pass from the mouth, down the back of the throat, through the esophagus, and into the stomach. Difficulties can range from an inability to swallow completely to coughing or choking as a result of food or liquid entering the windpipe (aspiration).”

Another type of swallowing disorder is odynophagia, which is defined by pain in the throat or chest while swallowing.

Swallowing disorders are not always obvious, but there are numerous symptoms to be aware of in yourself or your child. Some are listed by Johns Hopkins Medicine, including:

  • Hoarseness and sore throat
  • Regurgitation (the return of food or liquid back to the mouth or pharynx after it successfully passed)
  • Nasal regurgitation (when food or fluid comes up into the nose; this occurs when the nasopharynx does not close properly)
  • Coughing while eating
  • Choking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest

ASHA also discusses the three stages of swallowing and the difficulties that may arise in each of these stages:

  • Oral phase – sucking, chewing, and moving food or liquid into the throat.
  • Pharyngeal phase – starting the swallow and squeezing food down the throat. You need to close off your airway to keep food or liquid out. Food going into the airway can cause coughing and choking.
  • Esophageal phase – opening and closing the esophagus, or the tube that goes from the mouth to the stomach. The esophagus squeezes food down to the stomach. Food can get stuck in the esophagus. Or, you may throw up a lot if there is a problem with your esophagus.

How can a speech therapist assist you?

To help you swallow food and drink, the muscles of the tongue and throat must be strong and functional. We frequently find difficulties with neurological processing and possibly muscle function in the tongue and throat with swallowing disorders.

Our clinic offers specialized therapeutic intervention that is tailored to an individual’s speech, voice, language, or swallowing needs. Following your initial consultation with your speech therapist at Wise Physical Therapy, they will be able to make a proper diagnosis (if one had not already been made prior to your appointment) and discuss various treatment options with you.

Neuromuscular re-education, dysphagia swallowing exercises, oral-motor treatments, and other traditional speech therapy techniques may be included in these interventions.

Dealing with a swallowing disorder can seriously jeopardize a person’s lifestyle, impede how you interact with others, and reduce a person’s self-confidence when eating or drinking in public.

A Anchorage speech therapist can assist in determining the cause of a swallowing disorder and developing a treatment plan to help you or your child eat and drink more comfortably.

For speech therapy, contact Wise Physical Therapy right away.

You can be confident that you’re in good hands at our clinic. We make every effort to create a warm and welcoming environment in which you can learn how to manage your swallowing disorder comfortably. Swallowing disorders can be concerning and dangerous if left untreated.

Don’t sit around waiting for things to improve on their own. If you or your child is having difficulty swallowing, please contact our Anchorage clinic right away to learn more about how one of our speech therapists can assist you.

It is the top priority of Wise Physical Therapy to see all of our patients through to the end of their treatment and to have them feel more confident in their feeding and swallowing abilities. If you or your child is having difficulty swallowing, please contact our clinic right away to schedule an evaluation.


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