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Swallowing Exercise

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Swallowing Exercise
Introduction

These exercises are for use at home, following instruction by a member of your healthcare team. When performed as directed, these exercises may improve the effectiveness of your swallow.

Effortful Swallow

Use this exercise to increase your awareness of the swallowing process and to strengthen your swallow.

Repeat each exercise _______ times (= 1 set).

Do each set of exercises _______ times each day.

Swallow hard while pushing the back of your tongue against the roof of your mouth.

Note: This exercise may be performed while eating as long as food is well chewed.

Caution: this exercise may fatigue your tongue muscles. Perform only as directed.

Sour Swallow
Use a mixture of 1/2 lemon juice and 1/2 water to stimulate your swallow reflex and heighten your awareness of the swallowing process.

Repeat each exercise _______ times (= 1 set).

Do each set of exercises _______ times each day.

Take sips of a lemon juice/water mixture (1/2 lemon juice and 1/2 water) after every three to four bites of food during a meal.

Mendelsohn Maneuver

Use this exercise to help you elevate your larynx (Adam’s apple) and coordinate your swallow.

Repeat each exercise _______ times (= 1 set).

Do each set of exercises _______ times each day.

1. Swallow a couple of times and concentrate on the feeling of your “Adam’s apple” going up and down.

2. When you feel your “Adam’s apple” go up to the top of your throat, use the muscles in your throat to hold that position for a couple of seconds. Relax.

Tongue Holding

Use this exercise to help you strengthen the muscles at the back of your tongue and throat.

Repeat each exercise _______ times (= 1 set).

Do each set of exercises _______ times each day.

1. Hold your tongue between your teeth.

2. Swallow.

Caution: If you have a history of cardiac or blood pressure problems, speak with your physician before doing the following exercises.

Singing (Falsetto) Exercise

Use this exercise to help you elevate your larynx (“Adam’s apple”) and strengthen muscles in the back of your throat.

Repeat each exercise _______ times (= 1 set).

Do each set of exercises _______ times each day.

Take a deep breath and say “Ah” in your deepest voice (pitch). Continue to hold the “Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h-h” and slowly raise your voice to the highest pitch possible. Return to the deepest pitch.

Relax and breathe normally for two to three breaths before repeating the exercise.

Vocal Cord Strengthening Exercises

Use these exercises to strengthen your vocal cords. This may help prevent food or drink from entering your airway and improve the strength of your swallow.

Repeat each exercise _______ times (= 1 set).

Do each set of exercises _______ times each day.

1. • While sitting, grasp the front of the chair near your knees.

• Hold your breath.

• Pull up on the front of the chair with your hands.

• Hold for five seconds.

• Relax and breathe normally for two or three breaths before repeating the exercise.

2. • While sitting, push down on the chair with both hands; or while standing by a table, push down on the table top with both hands.

• Hold this position for five seconds while saying “Ah.”

• Relax and breathe normally for two or three breaths before repeating the exercise.

3. • While pushing down on a chair or table with both hands, say “Ah” loudly and forcefully.

• Relax and breathe normally for two or three breaths before repeating the exercise.

Supraglottic Swallow

Use this exercise to improve your ability to close your vocal cords and the entryway to your trachea (airway) while swallowing. This may prevent food or drink from entering your airway.

Repeat each exercise _______ times (= 1 set).

Do each set of exercises _______ times each day.

1. Put a spoonful of food in your mouth.

2. Chew well.

3. Breathe in through your nose and hold your breath.

4. Swallow while holding your breath.

5. Cough hard.

6. Relax and breathe normally for two or three breaths before repeating the exercise.

Super Supraglottic Swallow

Use this exercise to improve your ability to close your vocal cords and the entryway to your trachea (airway) while swallowing. This may prevent food or drink from entering your airway.

Repeat each exercise _______ times (= 1 set).

Do each set of exercises _______ times each day.

1. Put a spoonful of food in your mouth.

2. Chew well.

3. Breathe in through your nose and hold your breath.

4. Bear down (as if you are straining to have a bowel movement).

5. Swallow while holding your breath.

6. Cough hard.

7. Relax and breathe normally for two or three breaths before repeating the exercise.