Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It’s hard to swallow

More swallowing exercises …

As you know, I practice several swallowing and tongue exercises every day. I feel they have helped with my eating and reduced my choking episodes. In our forum, a KDA associate recommended two more exercises that he said worked for him. These exercises, recommended by Dr. Vega, can be found at: http://stroke.about.com/od/caregiverresources/qt/swallowxrcs.htm .
1. Shaker Exercise
Lie flat on your back and raise your head as though youswallowing-head lift were trying to fixate your gaze on your toes. While you do this, make sure not to raise your shoulders. This simple exercise improves swallowing ability if it is performed three to six times per day for at least six weeks. If you get good at it, increase the duration of each head lift and the number of repetitions
2. Mendelsohn Maneuver
This simple exercise is very effective at improving the swallowing reflex. It involves swallowing your own saliva. Normally, as the saliva enters the area just behind your mouth during swallowing, your "Adam's apple" (the hard area about halfway down the front of your neck) moves up and then back down. To do this exercise, keep the Adam's apple elevated for about 2 to 5 seconds each time. You can help it stay there with your fingers at first, in order to better understand the movement you are about to do. But the exercise will only help you once you can make it stay up without assistance. Repeat this exercise several times per day.
I also found the following exercise interesting.
3. Effortful Swallow
The purpose of this exercise is to improve the contact among the different muscles used during the act of swallowing. In essence, the exercise consists of swallowing. But as you do it, you must try to squeeze all of the muscles of swallowing as hard as you can. You do not need to swallow food during the exercise. Just a dry swallow will do. Perform this exercise 5 to 10 times, 3 times per day.
And don’t forget the swallowing and tongue exercises provided in the Smart Exercise Guide – Part II.
1. Stick Out Your Tongue
Bite down lightly on your tongue to hold it in position.swallowing-bitetongue Swallow ten times (or more) while holding the tongue between the teeth. Perform this exercise every day.
2. Large Smile
swallowing-smile Make the sound “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” as you stretch your mouth muscles into a large smile. You should be able to feel throat muscles vibrate (stretch).
3. Pucker your Lips
Make the sound “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” as youswallowing-pucker pucker you lips. You should once again be able to feel your throat muscles vibrate (stretch)

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