Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation for Swallowing

Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)?

-Coughing during or after eating or drinking

-Wet sounding voice (“gurgly” voice)

-Extra time or effort needed to chew or swallow

-Recurring pneumonia or chest congestion

-Food or liquid leaking from the mouth

-Unexplained weight loss, altered diet or dehydration

Speech therapy for swallowing is a physical rehabilitation program conducted by a licensed speech-language pathologist offered at our Lake Mary, Orange City and DeLand office locations. Therapy is based on an individualized treatment plan with objectives and specific goals for each patient. Our speech-language pathologists are certified to use specialized equipment for the treatment of swallowing disorders such as Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), a non-invasive, painless treatment that uses a small portable stimulator which generates customizable electrical pulses. These pulses flow through a lead wire to a pair of small pads (electrodes) placed in the space right under the chin. Electrodes can also be placed on the face to the facial muscles involved in swallowing to treat oral dysphagia and facial paralysis. The electrical current passes through the electrodes into the body and stimulates the motor nerves that result in muscle contraction. Therapy involves exercises paired with NMES to promote improved strength, timing and reeducation of the swallowing muscles. The best results are obtained when NMES is paired with resistance training and with functional activities such as swallowing. The role of active exercise is critical to the success of NMES.

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