Do you have trouble swallowing? If so, VitalStim therapy may be a helpful treatment for you.
This noninvasive, electrical stimulation therapy is for anyone experiencing weakness of the throat muscles, resulting in difficulty swallowing.
This condition is a lot more common than you think, and can severely impact your quality of life.
Some examples of diagnoses that may cause dysphasia, or difficulty swallowing, include: stroke, brain injury, head/neck cancer and Bell’s Palsy.
Sometimes, however, the typical aging process can cause difficulty swallowing.
Vital Stim therapy is an intensive, FDA-approved treatment to help strengthen and re-educate the muscular system and improve swallowing in order to decrease the risk of choking or have food/liquid enter the lungs. By combining this with traditional therapy, the chances of positive outcomes are greatly enhanced.
It’s a very simple process. Electrodes are typically placed on the front of the neck on certain muscle groups depending on the location of the swallowing problem.
A speech therapist will have you eat and/or drink and perform throat-strengthening exercises with the electrodes in place.
The average recommended treatment is three times per week for one hour.
Contact your doctor for a prescription, so you can return to eating and drinking the foods you enjoy.
Pamela DeSimone is a speech language pathologist for Backus Rehabilitation Services, which is located at the Backus Outpatient Care Center in Norwich. To comment on this health topic or others, visit healthydocs.blogspot.com.