Many Easley cervical spine-related pain (like neck pain, stiffness, or other degenerative cervical spine disease conditions) sufferers may be surprised to learn how it might affect your ability to swallow. Dysphagia is the technical term for swallowing problems. While cervical spine conditions may affect your pharynx and its swallowing function, it is valuable to know just how and why that would occur. Let’s, Young Chiropractic and you, look more closely at the connection between cervical spine disorders and swallowing function.
The Link Between Cervical Spine Pain and Swallowing Function
The relationship between cervical spine pain conditions and swallowing function entails both sensory and motor components. When it comes to the sensory part, pain stemming from the neck can hamper your ability to identify what’s in your mouth, resulting in trouble knowing when to swallow which may result in issues such as choking or coughing during meals. On the motor side of things, cervical spine pain conditions may also interfere with your ability to move food as it goes through your mouth and throat by disrupting usual tongue, jaw, and hyolaryngeal motions (the movement of the hyoid bone, the bone that holds the tongue). Therefore, there may be trouble clearing food debris from your mouth after each bite or sip. Additionally, cervical spine disorder has been linked to heightened risk of aspiration (inhaling food particles) due to decreased laryngeal elevation that normally occurs during swallowing. (1) Young Chiropractic wants our Easley cervical spine pain patients to be aware of such issues.
The Importance of Proper Treatment
The ability to swallow affects your quality of life. A variety of diseases and spinal conditions may be the source of the swallowing trouble. Researchers are fine-tuning their evaluation of patients with swallowing issues. (2) A recent study reported that, lucky for these patients, those who have spine-related dysphagia had better outcomes with treatment than patients whose dysphagia was linked to other issues. (1) In fact, a case report of a female patient with swallowing issues who also had cervical osteophytes, cervical kyphosis, and thoracolumar scoliosis was treated for 6 months with chiropractic reported relief of all issues including dysphagia. (3) In order for individuals with cervical spine disorder-related dysphagia to return to safe eating habits, proper treatment is essential. Treatment at Young Chiropractic typically involves a thorough examination to determine the underlying cervical spine issue followed by a treatment plan including gentle spinal manipulation care (often in the form of Cox® Technic) and exercises designed to increase strength and range of motion in the neck muscles plus tactics to swallow safely during meals. Electrical stimulation has been found helpful in targeting specific areas of weakness associated with impaired tongue motion or jaw closure while also promoting increased blood flow throughout the neck region. (4,5) Young Chiropractic deliveres research based and clinically experienced relieving treatment modalities along with chiropractic spinal manipulation.
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There may not be a quick fix for this problem—treatment typically takes some time—with patience and commitment you can get the results you want with individualized care tailored specifically for your needs. Make your Easley chiropractic appointment today.