Dysphagia Rehabilitation

Physiatry at Washington Township Medical Foundation

Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing. In other words, this condition occurs when food does not travel in a normal way from the mouth to the stomach. There can be various causes of swallowing disorders. The two basic causes are oropharyngeal dysphagia and esophageal dysphagia. There are two subcategories within both of these categories: Neuromuscular and structural. Dysphagia can also be caused by disorders that affect the esophagus.

Who Has Dysphagia?

Most patients with dysphagia are infants, the elderly, or individuals who have pre-existing issues affecting the brain and / or nervous system. Other factors, such as dry mouth, can significantly worsen the effects of dysphagia.

Symptoms of dysphagia include:

  • Pain when swallowing
  • Difficulty getting food to “go down” on the first swallow
  • Choking, coughing, or gagging when trying to swallow
  • Heartburn
  • Chest pain / pressure
  • Weight loss because the patient is not able to eat or drink enough
  • The feeling that food or liquid is getting “stuck”
  • Food or liquid coming back up into the nose, mouth, or throat

A doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) can help patients with dysphagia. There are different types of dysphagia rehabilitation depending on the specific condition. Speak with a Fremont physiatrist at Washington Township Medical Foundation to learn more.