Many Nashua people suffering from neck pain, stiffness, or other degenerative cervical spine disease conditions 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 have an impact on pharyngeal swallowing function, it is important to know just how and why that would occur. Let’s, Moriarty Chiropractic and you, take a closer look 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 originating in the neck has the potential to affect your ability to sense what’s in your mouth, resulting in trouble determining when to swallow which may lead to 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 process food as it goes through your mouth and throat by disrupting normal tongue, jaw, and hyolaryngeal movements (the movement of the hyoid bone, the bone that holds the tongue). As a result, there may be trouble clearing food debris from your mouth after each bite or sip. Additionally, cervical spine disorder has been associated with heightened risk of aspiration (inhaling food particles) due to decreased laryngeal elevation that normally occurs during swallowing. (1) Moriarty Chiropractic wants our Nashua cervical spine pain patients to be aware of such issues.
The Importance of Proper Treatment
The ability to swallow affects one’s quality of life. A variety of diseases and spinal conditions may be the root cause of the swallowing trouble. Researchers are fine-tuning their evaluation of patients with swallowing issues. (2) A recent study documented that, fortunately for these patients, those who have spine-associated dysphagia had better outcomes with treatment than those whose dysphagia was related 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 important. Treatment at Moriarty Chiropractic typically involves a thorough examination to determine the underlying cervical spine issue followed by a treatment plan incorporating gentle spinal manipulation care (often in the form of Cox® Technic) and exercises meant to increase strength and range of motion in the neck muscles plus strategies to swallow safely when eating. Electrical stimulation has been reported beneficial in targeting specific areas of weakness related to impaired tongue motion or jaw closure while also promoting increased blood flow throughout the neck region. (4,5) Moriarty Chiropractic offers 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 several weeks—with patience and dedication you can get the results you want with personalized care tailored specifically for your needs. Make your Nashua chiropractic appointment today.