In the U.S., 1 in 25 adults experience difficulties with swallowing. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) defines dysphagia (dis-FAY-juh) as a swallowing disorder that involves the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, or gastroesophageal junction.
What Are Common Dysphagia Symptoms?
- Coughing/throat clearing
- Pain when swallowing
- Needing extra time to chew & swallow
- Feeling like food is “sticking” in your throat
- Wet or gurgly sounding voice after swallowing
- Difficulty with timing breathing with swallowing
How Is It Treated?
- Swallowing Exercises
- Postural/Position Techniques
- Diet Modifications
- And more!
Swallowing exercises may include VitalStim Therapy, which is designed to help with swallowing through the use of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES). Electrical stimulation is used to aid muscle strengthening to rehabilitate the swallow. The sensory stimulation that is provided also helps muscle recruitment and swallowing function.
Deep pharyngeal neuromuscular stimulation (DPNS) is a non-invasive, electrical stimulation therapy for people with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Therapists are certified to perform this therapy.
Who Treats Dysphagia?
Dysphagia is treated by our Licensed Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) in patients’ homes through Integrity Home Health or through video visits or in-person at Integrity Rehab in Temple, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, and Salado. Most insurances are accepted. For outpatient rehab, an advanced practitioner or physician’s referral is required. Superior insurance for patients over age 21 requires an MD or DO’s referral for SLP.
Speech Therapy treats a range of conditions relating to language use, cognition, social pragmatics, voice quality, and speech articulation such as:
- Speech / language disorders
- Feeding / swallowing disorders
- Brain injury / stroke / neurological disorders
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Hearing impairment
- Developmental delays
- Reading disorders