Skip to navigation Skip to content

News

Share

Small Study Shows Benefits of Strategies to Improve Swallowing in People with MS

February 27, 2019

SUMMARY
  • In a study of 20 people with MS, strategies to improve swallowing (focusing on coordination, sensory input and range of motion) resulted in better, lasting improvements, compared to just changing body position and food consistency.
  • Problems with swallowing can occur in people with MS, and can have a significant impact on health and quality of life. This study illustrates that addressing swallowing with specific exercises – and even, to some extent – dietary and postural changes, can reduce these difficulties. Read more about swallowing problems and available treatments
  • The team (Maryam Tarameshlua, Ahmad Reza Khatoonabadi, PhD, and colleagues, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran) published their findings in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (2019 Jan;23(1):171-176). 
DETAILS
Background: Dysphagia, or difficulty in swallowing, can occur as a symptom of MS. While more frequent in advanced disease, it can occur at any stage. Some factors that can contribute to these difficulties include muscle spasms, weakness, decreased sensation, MS-related fatigue, and certain medications.
 
The Study: Participants with MS were randomly assigned to one of two groups:
  • One group received traditional dysphagia therapy, which involves strategies designed to improve coordination, sensory input and range of motion during swallowing (for example, stretching tongue muscles to improve range of motion, or clearing the throat after each bite/sip).
  • The other group received “usual care,” which included postural changes or dietary strategies (for example, modifying volume of food or changing food consistency).
Swallowing ability was measured before treatment, at the end of nine sessions of treatment, at the end of 18 sessions, and then six weeks after the end of treatment.
 
Results: Swallowing ability improved significantly in both groups at the end of nine and 18 sessions of treatment. However, scores were significantly better in the traditional dysphagia therapy group. Six weeks after the end of treatment, swallowing ability in the traditional dysphagia therapy group remained improved, but swallowing ability in the usual care group had worsened. Other measures used to determine impairments in swallowing improved significantly more in the traditional dysphagia therapy group than in the usual care group.
 
The team (Maryam Tarameshlua, Ahmad Reza Khatoonabadi, PhD, and colleagues, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran) published their findings in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (2019 Jan;23(1):171-176).
 
Conclusions: Problems with swallowing can occur in people with MS, and can have a significant impact on health and quality of life. This study illustrates that addressing swallowing with specific exercises – and even, to some extent – dietary and postural changes, can reduce these difficulties.
 
Read More
Read more about swallowing problems and available treatments

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

Share


Your input is important!

We believe that people affected by MS live better lives when they're connected.  To help us provide you with the best resources, support and information, please provide your feedback in a short survey.
Take the survey