There was a study done at the University of Florida in 2010 with a device for Expiratory Muscle Strength Training (EMST) which they found improved swallowing and breathing for some people with Parkinson’s in the clinical trial. That lessens the chance of aspiration and choking.
The device is available from Aspire Products LLC and is reasonably priced:
There is also a downloadable user manual – I have ordered one – just more muscles to exercise!
This certainly looks like a useful solution for a potentially life threatening problem. The therapy involves inserting a device into your mouth (while closing your nose) to exercise the muscles necessary to swallow safely and avoid choking.
The website is informative, though I note that there is no person or company name listed. The price of the product is reasonable.
This is the first I have heard about this product. Any other experiences with using it out there?
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Pioneers of Recovery
My husband was just diagnosed with Parkinson back in January. His main problem is swallowing. He has to use thicket for liquids and other food has to be mushed. He has to take small bites and hold his head down and swallow twice.
I am his caregiver. I feel our life is about over. We used to go out to eat at least 2 times a week. Now we can’t.
He just had knee surgery and while he was in rehabilitation they treated his Parkinson which I am grateful for. The doctor who treated it upped his medication and told him people with swallowing problems can get better with the medication. The therapist said that was not true, that he has to be very careful because he could get phenomena.
I have been chopping his food with my food processor. I have also been buying him TV dinners because I am a loss about what to do anymore.
We are both miserable. We are both 68 in what they call the Golden years. Someone lied about that. I went to the care givers chat no one was there. Any suggestions we would be grateful for. he does not shake at all.
Linda and Bill
My reaction as a researcher (not a medical doctor) is that you are approaching the current challenge of recovering from a swallowing problem from a limited perspective. No wonder you are both feeling hopeless!
There are dozens of alternatives that are available to you that will provide relief from the symptoms your husband currently is experiencing. Your medical doctor suggested medication might be one solution, but I can assure you there are many other treatments that might be considered.
You assume that the problem will never resolve. Why? What thought form leads you to draw that depressing conclusion? I can assure you that the body has the strength and agility to recover from any imbalance.
You are assuming that medications are the one and only answer to your husband’s swallowing difficulties. Medications are one among dozens of other therapies that might be considered. Medications do not address underlying causes. They are formulated to treat symptoms. As such they have side effects. To be clear here – it may be medications will be a wonderful solution. But there are also many other alternative treatments that can be considered that have no side effects.
If I were in your shoes, I would listen to my weekly radio shows.
This Wednesday I am interviewing Sharry Edwards who is internationally famous for doing voice profiles. Want to know what is going on with your husband? Suggest to your husband that he call in during the show and ask Sharry to do a free voice analysis for him. I suspect you will both be amazed and dazzled at what she discovers might be the the cause of his current swallowing difficulties. Voice profiling is an amazing technology.
Have you been following the posts here on the Parkinsons Recovery blog?
You will find incredible suggestions here. These are exciting times for any and all persons on the road to recovery. Climb aboard.
Are you aware of the marvelous book, Swallow Safely? Listen to my radio show with the authors Roya Sayadi, Ph.D.and Joel Herskowitz, MD, which aired last year. They offer many excellent suggestions. Click on the book title below to purchase their book on Amazon:
I recount a rich variety of approaches people are using to get relief from the symptoms of Parkisons disease in the second edition of my book, Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease: For information about the second edition visit:
If you believe medicine is the only answer – you will in the long run likely be disappointed. More and more medication over time is usually required to attain the same result. If you believe all healing comes from a place from deep within, you will be delightfully surprised with the outcome. It takes hard work on your part and your husband’s part and a strong intention for healing, but recovery is possible.
In summary – it sounds to me like you are looking to medicines as the sole answer. Be open to other possible treatment modalities. There are many to consider and many that might potentially prove very beneficial indeed.
I suggest that your husband look in the mirror. He is the one person in the world who can solve the challenges he currently faces.
Believe me please when I say that you are overlooking dozens of therapies that can potentially have a huge impact on his recovery and your collective mood.
I appreciate your work very much. It has contributed a great deal to improving my life. For example, the doctors [Roya Sayadi, Ph.D. and Joel Herskowitz, M.D., authors of Swallow Safely] who were experts on swallowing ended much of my choking problems because of the build up of bacteria. A mouth cleansing usually brings things to an end. It was good to emphasize oral care because of this cavity’s proximity to the brain.
The man who was and is a physical therapist [Kevin Lockette, author of Move It] brought such passion to his work that I took up physical therapy when it was offered. It is very difficult to do. I am not doing the full load yet, but it is bringing hope of being less disabled as new pathways are created and felt. My PT has no idea what you go through with Parkinson’s, so today I explained a bit.