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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Managing Voice and Swallowing difficulties


3 comments:

  1. Hi, are there any tongue and jaw exercises that can be done to prevent such issues from happening? Pls kindly elaborate on how to do such exercises?

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  2. Hi, are there any tongue and jaw exercises that can be done to prevent such issues from happening? Pls kindly elaborate on how to do such exercises?

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  3. Hi NP C. The tongue and jaw exercises are simple. Stretching the tongue in any directions (mimic tasting and aid in food swallowing) help to stimulate the nerve to trigger the salivary glands to release saliva. So, to do this, touch the tip of your tongue to your left inner cheek and then to the right cheek. Then, move the tongue in a circular movement. For the jaw exercise to prevent trimus (difficulty in opening the mouth due to tightening of the temporo-mandibular joint), open the jaw as wide as you can. Keep it open for a few seconds and feel the stretching of your cheek muscles and at the same time, put your fingers on the top of your jaw as you open your jaw and you can feel the tendon being stretched. Then, mimic a chewing motion as if you are chewing on something hard.

    Sometimes, I find it easier to use a sugar free chewing gum. The action of chewing also stimulates saliva production.

    The next thing to do is to strengthen the pharyngeal muscles of swallowing. This group of muscles are located in your throat to help to constrict and relax to help swallowing. To strengthen them, try to swallow hard your saliva. If you have poor saliva production, use some water. Do a hard swallow. This helps to constrict these muscles and eventually strengthen them. After radiotherapy, these muscles could be weaken and hence lead to choking.

    Hope these helps.

    Dr. Choo
    NPC support group medical adviser

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