Path to Dysphagia Diagnosis
  • Carinda Stout, MS CCC/SLP

Muscle Tenson Dysphagia

Muscle tension dysphagia refers to the patient population that upon work-up, reveals no organic etiology for swallowing issues however, there is a huge impact of dysphagia symptoms during oral intake as well as quality of life.

Dysphagia symptoms are often characterized by a feeling that they “cannot swallow” or swallowing is effortful, difficulty swallowing solids, throat discomfort with swallowing, and a sensation of food sticking in the throat.

These individuals exhibit normal oropharyngeal and esophageal swallowing function as evidenced by a videofluoroscopic swallow study. These patients also demonstrate abnormal supraglottic muscle tension during videostroboscopy as well as signs of laryngeal hypersensitivity and laryngopharyngeal reflux. Treatment of these patients with Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) therapy is a common practice however, voice therapy invention specifically targeting the unloading of the supraglottic muscle tension has been shown to be highly effective in symptom resolution. Successful voice therapy consisted of education, circumlaryngeal massage, and diaphragmatic breathing with focus on relaxed throat breathing.

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