Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is common in older adults but can happen at any age. The causes of swallowing problems vary and treatment depends on the cause. Therapists will determine the best treatment plan to help you increase your efficiency of swallowing and enhance your safety.
Signs and symptoms that can be associated with dysphagia may include:
Pain while swallowing (odynophagia)
Not being able to swallow
Sensation of food getting stuck in your throat, chest or behind your breastbone (sternum)
Food or stomach acid backing up into your throat
Unexpected weight loss
Coughing or gagging when swallowing
Patients with any of the following may have issues with swallowing or feeding:
Therapists will use a variety of methods to determine the most appropriate therapy for you. A thorough evaluation will be performed and your personal plan for therapy will be determined.
Your therapy may include the following:
Optimal positioning to increase safety
Oral motor strengthening and coordination
Laryngeal pharyngeal strengthening and coordination exercises