What is Dysphagia? Can Chiropractic Help with Swallowing Difficulties?
On March 19, 2015, a case study was published in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research recording the results of chiropractic care for an elderly woman who was suffering from chronic difficulty in swallowing. The diagnostic term for this condition is dysphagia.
On their website, the National Institutes of Health describe dysphagia by saying, “People with dysphagia have difficulty swallowing and may even experience pain while swallowing (odynophagia). Some people may be completely unable to swallow or may have trouble safely swallowing liquids, foods, or saliva.”
The authors of the study note that this condition affects millions of people and with approximately 1 out of 17 people suffering from a swallowing disorder. Some authorities estimate that the incidence of swallowing disorders is as high as 50% among nursing home residents,
In this case, a 73-year-old woman from Auckland, New Zealand, came to the chiropractor to participate in a clinical trial that investigated the effects of chiropractic care on sensorimotor function in older adults. During her case history, it was revealed that she had been suffering with dysphagia for the previous 20 years. Her condition would cause her to feel like she was choking when swallowing food and that it was sticking in her throat. To avoid this feeling, the woman would cut her food up into very small pieces. She also ate only foods that were relatively soft and easy for her to swallow.
A chiropractic examination was performed which consisted of a full history, neurological examination, orthopedic tests of the spine, a spinal assessment, a thermography scan, and static electromyography. In addition, a full set of spinal x-rays was taken to evaluate her spine for degeneration, postural alignment, chiropractic analysis, and to rule out any pathology that would prevent her from receiving chiropractic care.
From these tests it was determined that the woman had multiple spinal subluxations in her upper neck, upper back and at the base of her spine. Based on this, specific chiropractic adjustments were begun at the rate of three visits per week for the first four weeks.
The results in this case were almost immediate. The study reports that the woman returned for her second visit and explained to her chiropractor that the day following her first adjustment, she could swallow and eat food normally again without having to cut food into tiny pieces.
During a follow up evaluation after 12 chiropractic visits, the woman stated that she felt an overall improvement in her health, increased energy, better breathing, more motivation, and most importantly she was no longer choking on her food. A follow-up was conducted a year later with the woman still not experiencing any of her original problems.
If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.