What is a Swallowing Disorder?

Swallowing disorder, also known as Dysphagia, are complicated, neurologically-based disorders characterized by difficulty chewing and swallowing food. Science shows that Dysphagia, swallowing disorders, demonstrate irregular brain patterns that are visible through Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG), a brain-based method of evaluation that the doctors use to visualize brain function and see how it is impacting swallowing.

What Causes Swallowing Disorder?

Doctors have determined that certain irregular brain patterns are evident in those who struggle with Swallowing disorder. qEEG Brain Mapping can identify the presence of these abnormalities. Scientific studies have found that areas of the brain that control the muscles for swallowing are not working properly and the function of swallowing breaks down. Although it appears to be difficulties of the mouth and throat, it is the brain’s control of theses areas that is causing the problem. This abnormal brain performance is the underlying factor to Dysphagia.

Signs and Symptoms of Dysphagia Swallowing Disorder Include

  • drooling and poor movement of food in the mouth
  • food or liquid remaining in the mouth after swallowing
  • inability to close lips properly, leading to leaking out of food and/or liquids
  • food and/or liquids leaking from the nose
  • complaints of food getting stuck
  • complaints of a full feeling in the neck
  • pain when swallowing
  • gurgly sounding voice during meals
  • coughing during eating or drinking;
  • difficulty coordinating breathing and swallowing;
  • recurring fever which could be a sign of aspiration pneumonia
  • extra time of effort for chewing or swallowing
  • avoiding eating certain foods/drinks
  • weight loss or dehydration from not being able to intake enough food or liquid

How Can Swallowing Disorder Symptoms Be Reduced?

Swallowing Disorder is known to be caused and made worse by three factors:

  • qEEG Brain irregularities indicating neurological dysfunction. When this pattern improves, symptoms reduce.
  • Stress, which has its own, separate, brain pattern irregularities can make swallowing disorders worse. Decreasing the use of the anxiety pattern can reduce symptoms of dysphagia.
  • Aging or progressive neurological degeneration. As the brain ages it slows down in processing speed. If a person suffers from a degenerative neurological disease this slowing happens faster than usual. The reduction in processing speed of the brain can make dysphagia swallowing disorders symptoms worsen. When the brain improves processing speed, symptoms reduce.

When these three factors are evaluated and then treated in concert, symptoms can reduce quickly. At Leigh Brain & Spine, the doctors identify the disruptive brain patterns and then retrain the brain to operate better using Neurofeedback Therapy.

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 How is a Swallowing Disorder Diagnosed?

 Traditional methods of assessing swallowing disorders show how swallowing is affected by having the person swallow while using imaging. This shows where in the mouth and throat the breakdown in swallowing is occurring.

New scientific findings show that Dysphagia is much better able to be understood by doctors now that they are using qEEG Brain Mapping to look at the person’s neurological functioning and how the brain is using energy. This evaluation method shows why swallowing is disrupted and what can be done to improve swallowing function at the level of the brain.

 What is the Best Test for Dysphagia Swallowing Disorder?

Abnormal qEEG findings are known to be at the root of Dysphagia. A qEEG Brain Map can detect and identify if the brain is suffering from neurological dysfunction that is causing the swallowing challenges. In this way advances in neuroscience and technology are making it easier to identify and treat Swallowing Disorders.

How Can Neurofeedback Improve Swallowing Disorder?

Dysphagia swallowing disorder is known to be associated with an abnormal brain functioning patterns. The areas of the brain that control swallowing are not working properly.

Scientists have identified a brain pattern that is used when a person is healthy, with no problems eating or swallowing. Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG) technology was used to find this brain pattern.

This brain patterns, identified on qEEG as those associated with swallowing disorder, can give the person difficulty moving food in the mouth, through the throat and into the stomach. Neurofeedback Therapy improves the way the brain is performing and thus reduces symptoms of swallowing disorder.

Neurofeedback Therapy re-wires brain irregularities for better performance. Scientific studies prove that Neurofeedback has high success rates by providing auditory and visual feedback to improve the way the brain is operating. With better brain function comes alleviation of symptoms.

What’s the Most Effective Treatment for Dysphagia?

Neurofeedback Therapy is a clinically proven, drug free, non-invasive treatment option that can improve the brain pattern toward the optimal one proven to be symptom-free. When the brain is working better, the flow of information from the brain to the throat and mouth is improved and symptoms can be reduced.

Neurofeedback is:

  • Drug-Free
  • Non-Invasive
  • No Side-Effects
  • Clinically Proven
  • Long-lasting Benefits
  • Proven successful with 65-year legacy

Compared to other types of swallowing disorder treatment that involve exercises of swallowing to control the muscles better or compensate for their poor use, Neurofeedback Therapy works directly with the person’s brain for an enjoyable experience that is proven effective.

Adult Swallowing Disorder

Dysphagia may result from numerous causes secondary to damage to the brain:

Swallowing Disorder in Children

Underlying causes of feeding and swallowing disorders in children include:

  • developmental delays and disabilities
  • factors affecting neuromuscular coordination (prematurity, low birth weight, hypotonia, hypertonia)
  • genetic syndromes (Down syndrome, Prader–Willi, Rett syndrome, etc.)
  • neurological disorders (cerebral palsy, meningitis, encephalopathy, pervasive developmental disorders, weakness in face and neck)
  • traumatic brain injury
  • sensory issues
  • socio-emotional factors (e.g., parent–child interactions at mealtimes).
  • Stress reactions can develop in association with dysphagia, aspiration, or a choking event.

What Do I Do If I Have a Swallowing Disorder?

First visit your primary care physician. He or she will investigate the status of your Swallowing issues will make sure you are not suffering from a more serious health condition that might be impacting your ability to eat. If you would like to reduce your Swallowing Disorder Symptoms, call the professionals at Leigh Brain & Spine. The doctors can perform a qEEG Brain Map to determine if you are a strong candidate for Neurofeedback Therapy.