Dysphagia, sometimes known as trouble swallowing, can affect people of all ages. People with dysphagia may experience symptoms including coughing, choking, or regurgitation when eating or drinking. These symptoms can have a significant effect on their quality of life. Swallowing exercises are a crucial part of treatment for dysphagia, in addition to dietary changes that can help manage the condition. The significance of swallowing exercises in managing dysphagia will be covered in this article.
What Are Swallowing Exercises?
Therapy called swallowing exercises aims to strengthen and better coordinate the muscles involved in swallowing. These exercises may be customized to a person’s unique needs and abilities and are often prescribed by a speech-language pathologist, such as a healthcare practitioner. Exercises for swallowing may target specific muscle groups, such as the muscles of the tongue or throat, or they may require the coordination of several muscle groups.
Do Food Thickeners Help?
Food thickeners can help people with dysphagia or other swallowing difficulties by changing the texture and consistency of liquids and soft foods, making them easier to swallow. People can practice swallowing exercises with various textures and consistencies by using a food thickener, which can enhance muscle coordination and strength. A popular choice for people is SimplyThick food thickener for dysphagia, and it has several benefits over other options.
Exercises for Swallowing
Various swallowing exercises can be used to control dysphagia. These include:
- Exercises for the tongue: These exercises are designed to strengthen and better coordinate the tongue muscles, which are crucial for bringing food and liquids to the back of the throat. Tongue presses and thrusts are a couple of examples of tongue workouts.
- Exercises for the throat: These exercises target the pharyngeal and laryngeal muscles located in the throat. The Masako movement and the Shaker exercise are two examples of throat workouts.
- Exercises for the respiratory system: Enhancing the synchronization of breathing and swallowing, these exercises help to lower the risk of choking or aspiration. Exercises for breathing can be as simple as pursed-lip breathing or diaphragmatic breathing.
Swallowing Exercises: How to Include Them into Your Routine
A healthcare provider, such as a speech-language pathologist, should recommend and oversee swallowing exercises. These exercises can be carried out under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner at home or in a clinical setting, such as a rehabilitation facility. For the best results, it’s crucial to adhere to the suggested swallowing exercise regimen continuously.
There are methods to incorporate swallowing practice into daily life in addition to formal swallowing exercises. They may consist of the following:
- Eating smaller, more frequent meals: This can give you more chances to practice swallowing and lower your risk of feeling drowsy while eating.
- Taking a good chew: Eating slowly can help lessen the danger of choking and make food easier to swallow.
- Becoming comfortable swallowing various textures: It can be beneficial to practice swallowing with various textures, such as liquids and soft foods, to increase muscular coordination and strength.
- Maintaining hydration: Consuming enough water throughout the day helps maintain the health and hydration of the swallowing muscles.
Exercises for improving swallowing are a crucial part of dysphagia care. The danger of problems can be decreased, and the muscles utilized for swallowing can become stronger and more coordinated with these exercises. In addition to other dysphagia management techniques, including dietary changes and medicinal therapies, a healthcare expert, such as a speech-language pathologist, should prescribe and oversee swallowing exercises.